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Why employee engagement matters

Leadership Capability

In 2001, I discovered something totally unexpected and surprising. It was so profound that it shaped me and my life.

At the time I was doing OK at work, but saw it very much as a separate aspect of my life, something that needed to be done in order to fund my 'real life'. What I discovered was that it is entirely possible to love Monday mornings. Not just tolerate them or accept them, but love them and look forward to them, to ditch the growing lump of anxiety on a Sunday evening as I stared into another week of work. What led to that discovery? It wasn’t a ‘what?’ in this case, it was a ‘who?’ - a key role model leader who literally transformed my life.

It's why this topic is so compelling to me. I’ve experienced first hand the overwhelming benefits, personally and professionally, of being totally engaged at work.

This calls to mind the famous quote from Dr Wernher Von Braun, an aerospace engineer, when asked by President Kennedy what it would take to build a rocket that could carry a man to the moon and bring him back safely to the Earth, Von Braun answered him in five words; The will to do it.”

And there you have it, the beating heart of why employee engagement is so important: anything meaningful that you want to achieve in your business can only translate into operational reality and succeed in the long run with the will of the people, and that is only achieved through engagement. Solving the engagement issue isn’t about having happy faces in the staff room, there’s a real business imperative to cracking the engagement puzzle. This includes implementing business change, driving customer satisfaction, relocating offices, altering shift patterns, improving efficiency, replacing products...anything... will only be adopted and implemented with the will of the workforce.

Only 13% of employees worldwide are actively engaged at work, according to a Gallup study on the  State of the Global Workplace. In other words, about one in eight workers -- roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied -- are psychologically committed to their jobs. The remaining 87% lack motivation, don’t perform to their full potential, and spread negativity to others.

It cannot be ignored. Businesses are at significant financial risk if the issue isn’t addressed. It is the difference between surviving and thriving. Successful businesses today can ask, answer and address the question : ‘Why are our people disengaged?’