Almost three-quarters of business leaders surveyed by Harvard Business Review said that employee engagement was critical to their long-term success. But only 24% of the same leaders described their workforce as highly engaged. The gap between those two figures is nearly 50 percentage points!
Gallup has been measuring employee engagement for nearly two decades. Only 30% of people are engaged at work and it is rising at less than one percentage point per year. At this rate, it will take almost 50 years to bridge the gap between what executives say they need and what is actually happening today in their organisations.
We just don’t have that long, here is why :
Technology is driving unparalleled business change and accelerating the pace of change.
Markets are being disrupted all around the world with no sector safe.
Business is moving faster with every month that goes by and when business moves faster, competition gets harder. Opportunities open up for new players with small, highly engaged teams and they outmanoeuvre and outperform larger, slower established organisations.
With change happening so fast organisations need their people on their side, to be highly engaged, innovating and making sure they do not become the next Nokia, Polaroid, Blockbuster or Borders.
Customers have more power than ever before. And they’re using it.
The customer relationship is fundamentally changing.
The number of customer reviews has grown exponentially in the last 10 years and they are now embedded into search results and product feeds. For many businesses, customer reviews are read before their own websites and product descriptions. Unhappy customers used to tell 10 people, now they can tell 10,000 people.
Businesses need customers to love their brands, love their products and advocate, sell for them and spread the word.
But how can companies get customers to love them if their employees do not even like them? Surely customer love must start with employee love?
But the good news is there is something that can be done.
There is a group of businesses that has been quietly doing something about this for the last 20 years.
These businesses have changed how they treat their people and, as a result, they have super-engaged workforces. The innovate more, deliver better customer service and adapt to change better than their peers.
They do not run easy places to work, they run great places to work.
These companies come from all sectors from technology to retail, to manufacturing to hospitality.
These companies enjoy stock market returns of twice their peers, they innovate more than their competitors and they have half their employee turnover.
After studying and working with hundreds of these organisations for over a decade, we have built a deep understanding of how organisations can move their business towards a highly engaged culture and have developed it into a model, The Employee Engagement Bridge.
The Engagement Bridge helps you to plan your own employee engagement strategy, one that is the best fit for your organisation, in the situation you are in now.
There are 10 parts of The Bridge model, all of which are important. How important each one is, and when and how organisations decide to work on each depends entirely on your organisation, your context and your situation. Like fingerprints, no two organisations are the same, so each bridge needs to be built in its own unique way.
Employee engagement isn’t easy, don’t believe anyone who tells you that it is. But it’s without question the most valuable thing you can invest in as a leader in an organisation. Numbers and results are just the output of the work that people do.
By using The Engagement Bridge as a model to work out your own employee engagement strategy for your organisation, you can take positive steps towards joining that elite group of companies that innovate more, service better and ultimately out-perform their peers.