It’s rare to find an executive today who says employee engagement is not a priority. Yet despite more than a decade of work, most longitudinal studies show that the average level of employee engagement in recent years is essentially unchanged. The business case for continuing the pursuit of employee engagement, however, has only become stronger, with credible data emerging to demonstrate the superior performance and earnings of organizations who achieve significant employee engagement (EE) gains. Engaged employees are a competitive advantage, and the impact on the bottom line is now indisputable.
What’s preventing us from achieving real progress?
First of all, engagement is complex. Research, once focused on identifying individual drivers of EE, now concludes that the entire employee experience plays a role in engagement. And, while that may be entirely accurate, it can also be overwhelming for companies trying to decide where to dedicate resources.
Secondly, since employee engagement is no longer new, nearly everyone approaches it with their own set of related experiences. These experiences shape their beliefs about engagement, which in turn drive their actions, whether consciously or not. Many have seen the power of engaged employees; others have become disillusioned. In a recent study of high-level senior leaders, Dale Carnegie found that 70% believe that EE has a strong impact on financial performance, meaning the remaining 3 in 10 question the strength of that link. In a separate study of leaders at lower levels within their organization, which we will explore further, 22% reported that they believe their organizations are spending too much time and money trying to engage employees, and 26% say efforts to engage employees are a distraction from getting real work done, revealing a disillusioned group of leaders unlikely to embrace further initiatives.
Finally, too many organizations are simply paying lip service to the idea that engaging their employees matters. While Deloitte reported that 85% of company leaders say EE is an important strategic priority, Dale Carnegie’s research found that just 31% of front-line employees and managers strongly agreed that their organization is actually making engagement a top priority.
Download Dale Carnegie’s Complimentary White Paper – Employee Engagement: It’s Time to Go ‘All In’ to start developing a real plan to drive employee engagement. Identify areas for strategic investments that will create results. Start to engage your employees today!
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