In the last article, we looked at the traditional measures of engagement and the relationship between engagement, input and output. Now, let’s look at some studies that support a new approach to assessing and managing – the disengaged traditional model, or the new engaged model, if you like.
Let’s start with the observation that large organisations are subject to a corporate variation of Newton’s first Law, to paraphrase, “an organisation either remains at rest or continues to operate the way it is, unless acted upon by a force.”
So, it comes as no surprise that engagement issues have been recognised and researched for quite a while. In 2012 Wills Towers Watson (then Towers Watson) conducted a study that reported findings from 29 global markets and 32,000 employees. This study concluded that the traditional positive relationship between high engagement and high performance can no longer be assumed to be true.
As a result of these findings – and many other similar studies – by now every organisation has changed the way they operate, right? Sadly, no, see Newton’s First Law above.
However, the positive spin on this is that consequently most organisations have an opportunity to improve productivity, morale, employee satisfaction and more by addressing the way they view engagement.
There’s a bottom line impact too.
Drilling further into the results of the study, they found that employee profiles could be aligned with company profits. The highest profit margins were delivered by companies whose employees considered they were motivated by their employers actively considering physical, emotional and social well-being.
The financial implications are significant – up to twice the profit margins of companies with traditionally ‘engaged’ employees were generated by organisations whose employees felt most cared for, including expectations of working hours.
On the downside, companies who had the least engaged employees only had one third the profit levels of those with the most engaged employees.
The important question we need to ask is; how do we build this new engagement into an organisational structure.
The answer is both simple and complex.
The simple answer is by having better leadership from more skilled and aware leaders.
The complex answer lies in defining better leadership, informing the leaders on the practices and processes and empowering them to implement them in the workplace.
We know that performance is related to team members having trust in their leaders. And trust is something that can’t be bought by words, but needs to be earned by actions. Leaders must build trust by showing a genuine interest in the well-being of their people. Ensuring that employees have manageable stress levels and a positive work/life balance.
Trust is a two-way street too. Just as employees need to trust their leaders, leaders need to show that they trust their employees. As previously discussed in other articles, this can involve anything from delegated decision making to flexible working hours and locations. Obviously, for the optimum results it should be a top-down strategy that spreads throughout an organisation.
Now, we are beginning to define the new the disengaged traditional model, or the new engaged model – and look at some of the potential benefits.
Topics like this are just some of the areas we cover in our executive coaching programs, and they are informed by the findings of some of the world’s leading management and workplace analysts.
If you want to know more about how you can increase profit margins through motivating your employees, head to www.melindafellconsulting.com.au/contact