How important is employee engagement to the success of your business? Most executives today answer that it is “very important” or our favorite “mission critical!” Really? How do you know? Does your company track any direct links between employee engagement levels and business results? Is that even possible?
The Research Analytics team at Harvard Business Review surveyed 550 executives to learn if and how employee engagement mattered to their business performance. The findings are both stark and clear. For starters, the survey found that 75% of employees are not engaged at work. But companies that focus on employee engagement do get rewarded for it.
From the report’s Executive Summary:
“The survey found that many companies find it challenging to measure engagement and tie its impact to financial results: fewer than 50 percent of companies said that they are effectively measuring employee engagement against business performance metrics such as customer satisfaction or increased market share.”
So you are not alone if you answered “not really” to our question. Most companies find accurately gauging their level of employee engagement a challenge — much less tying it to business results. But this study clearly shows that good things happen when you do. Here’s how they did it and a few key findings.
The key to the process is finding the measure(s) which are most influential in driving customer success. 80% of respondents named “High Level of Customer Service” as the number one contributor.
The companies were classified based on how they prioritized employee engagement in terms of importance to overall business success — “Low, Medium, and High”. Companies in the “High” group were much more focused on Customer Service. 94% of the “High” group valued Customer Service very highly versus only 39% of the “Low” group. The “Low” group was much more focused on cost cutting as the key success driver.
Here are three keys to how companies in the “High” group use measurement to tie employee engagement to business performance.
- Avoiding rote surveys
- Ensuring that goal alignment is occurring at every level of the organization and is well-communicated
- Using data to leverage engagement initiatives to improve performance
There’s much more to learn in the full report.