What is employee engagement? Fundamentally, it’s when an employee adopts the values and vision of the employer and actively contributes to the employer’s success. John Baldoni explains it best in the Harvard Business Review: “People want to come to work, understand their jobs, and know how their work contributes to the success of the organization.” When employees are not engaged, they do not go above and beyond in their roles; they merely do what is asked of them, and no more or no less.
Unfortunately, as reported by Gallup, only 32 percent of U.S. employees are engaged at work. The majority, at 51 percent, are not engaged, but the more troubling statistic is the approximately 17 percent who are actively disengaged. Through their lack of enthusiasm, this group of employees may be sabotaging their employers, whether actively or unintentionally.
With an engagement rate of just 29 percent, the Millennial generation is the least likely to be connected to their work. This is largely because they do not feel their employer’s values align with their own. As they are soon to become the largest demographic in the workforce, it is clear that something must be done to reverse the lack of engagement that plagues today’s workforce.
These are a few of the benefits of fostering employee engagement in the workplace.
A lack of engagement in the workplace correlates directly with a drop in productivity. Employees who do not understand their role in the organization and who are not passionate about — or at least interested in — their work will not feel much motivation to complete their assigned tasks, let alone go above and beyond.
On the other hand, engaged employees are more likely to complete their tasks faster and better than their peers who are not engaged. Statistics bear this out: Organizations that have higher levels of employee engagement experience productivity rates that are up to 21 percent higher than organizations with low levels of employee engagement.
In industries with high turnover rates, such as restaurants and hospitality, employee engagement initiatives are more valuable than ever. According to Forbes, some of the top reasons employees leave an organization is because of a lack of vision, lack of fun, and lack of intrinsic motivation within the workplace. These are all factors that contribute to low morale and, therefore, low employee engagement.
In short, employees don’t necessarily flit from workplace to workplace because they’re fickle — they’re just looking for an employer that will give them a goal they can align with and room to grow. Organizations that set out a clear mission and give employees a purpose within that mission will find themselves more successful in keeping those employees.
An exceptional customer experience starts on the front line. Employees who are not engaged do not bring much enthusiasm to the job; on the other hand, engaged employees in general are more outwardly happy while they’re on the clock.
Why is this important? An American Express survey indicated that two-thirds of consumers say they are willing to spend more with a brand that offers excellent customer service. The same American Express survey found that 55 percent of consumers decided not to make a purchase based on poor service. Furthermore, research shows that employee engagement plays a direct role in profitability. Gallup discovered that organizations with high rates of employee productivity are 22 percent more profitable than their competitors.
Positive online reviews
Further to the above point, guests who have an exceptional experience because of employees that go above and beyond are more likely to write positive reviews about the property on online review websites. While true that consumers are more likely to tell friends and family about negative experiences, Tnooz reports that 74 percent of travelers write online reviews because they want to share a positive experience with others. Gallup says that, overall, organizations with higher levels of employee engagement receive 10 percent more positive ratings than organizations with low levels of employee engagement.
Are you struggling to engage your employees? Gamification is one key strategy for boosting productivity and retention. Find out more here.