As a man that had to ask an exasperating three times before getting the right response (and even then it wasn’t convincing!) I won’t pretend I have much to teach about romantic engagement proposals. I met my better half in the library, and we‘ll leave it at that.
This week I have been reading a fascinating report which focuses on ‘engagement’ of a very different kind. The ‘2007-2008 Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study’ demonstrates an interesting relationship between workforce engagement and business performance.
This study shows that companies with highest employee engagement achieve better financial results and are able to retain their most valued employees. For example, companies with high engagement saw operating income increase 19% over one year, while earnings per share grew by 28%. Conversely, companies with low engagement saw income fall by more than 32%, and EPS by more than 11% over the same period. Other findings outlined in the study further demonstrate the correlation between engagement and performance.
The downside to these revelations is the finding that of approx 90,000 participants, only 21% were ‘engaged’ (i.e. willing to go the extra mile to help the business succeed) whereas 38% were wholly or partly disengaged. So how should companies seek to bridge this engagement gap?
No one magic formula to engaging the workforce was identified in the study, although leadership style and work environment were clearly key factors. Employees were willing to give more of themselves for their employer (and like to be rewarded for it too!) but needed to know that management cared. Worryingly, only 40% of employees in the study felt that the organisation they worked for had their best interests at heart.
Coincidentally (or maybe not) experts say the secret to successful relationships is putting the other person’s interests first, and it would seem that organisations aren’t all that different. As I’ve discovered from my 5 years of matrimonial bliss, you start with love and the pounds (or Kilograms if you prefer) soon follow.