We know UK plc has a productivity problem; fixing it is not rocket-science and is not expensive. Yes, it is relatively easy and cheap given the massive improvements you can achieve. Studies, conducted by academics, consultants and leaders of organisations in all of Public, Private and Third Sectors, show the links between Employee Engagement and improvements in all of the following:-
- Income growth
- Productivity and performance
- Customer/client satisfaction
- Absence and well-being
- Staff retention
- Health and safety
In the next few blogs, I will take you through each area in turn, starting with Income growth
- Sainsbury’s have found that the level of Employee Engagement can contribute up to 15% of the year-on-year growth of a store.
- Organisations that were in the top 25% for the level of Employee Engagement had twice the net annual income (profit attributable to shareholders) than those organisations in the bottom 25%. They returned 7 times more to their shareholders over 5 years than did the bottom group. (Source: Kenexa Research Institute 2008).
- Dorothy Perkins found that stores with high engagement demonstrated 12% higher growth in sales, delivered 10% improvements in operating savings, and experienced 35% lower stock loss. They calculated that a store with an average monthly turnover of £2.3m could yield an annual gain of £445,000 from the 12% higher growth
- Gallup data (2006) has also been used to show that the earnings per share growth rates of those units with engagement scores in the top 25% were 2.6 times those of units with below average engagement scores.
- Organisations with high levels of engagement (65% or greater) continue to outperform the total stock market index and posted total shareholder returns 22% higher than average in 2010. On the other hand, companies with low engagement (45% or less) had a total shareholder return that was 28% lower than the average (Aon Hewitt 2011).
“But our business is different” I hear you protest. We aren’t Retailers, we’re not as big as the organisations above, we’re not listed on the Stock Market, and we don’t employ anywhere near as many people as the companies above. “Our world is different!”
Really? Are you sure? OK, how about this? Think about you as a consumer. When you are buying from a store, or in a restaurant, or from a tradesperson, doesn’t the attitude and demeanour of the person you are dealing with have an impact on whether or not you will buy from them, and on how much you will spend? If they are enthusiastic about their business or organisation, are confident that there have a good product or service and are knowledgeable about it, if they are good at the interpersonal skills that make you feel special, then they are likely to have a bearing on your decision about your purchase.
People still buy from people, and they buy more from engaged people. Even in our internet age, relationships matter. An acquaintance of mine has bought his cars from the same person at the same garage for over twenty years – they have that bond of trust between them. I met the same sales person a few years back and he provided me with exactly what I wanted at a price that was in my budget, with a couple of unexpected extras added to the deal. He has been with the same dealership for more than twenty years and is an outstanding ambassador for them. Unsurprisingly, he is also their most consistent high-performing sales person.
Engaged employees drive increased revenues and profits. A study in the US Financial Services market showed that engaged employees deliver 28% more revenue per year that their disengaged colleagues. Another study put the difference at 40%. The modest investments you can make to improve engagement will be more than paid for if you get something like 30% more revenues in return. That is, if you continue to control your costs and not let all the extra revenue go to your head. Wouldn’t that be a nice problem to have?