employee engagement“It all came down to employee engagement. It all came down to recognition. It all came down to leadership, which led to every sailor feeling ownership and accountability for the results. You can ask a team to accomplish a mission but you can’t order excellence.”

Mike Abrashoff, Commander USS Benfold (retired)

Employee “satisfaction” and employee “engagement” are terms that have often times been used interchangeably when referring to keeping company morale and lowering turnover rates.

Can they really be used interchangeably? Not quite. And here’s why.

When looking at the definitions for employee satisfaction and employee engagement there IS a significant DIFFERENCE. Let’s take a look at each definition as defined by the ADP Research Institute:

EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION: the extent to which employees are happy or content with their jobs and work environment.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT: the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.

“Our HR team came up with the idea to put in a game room, have Friday happy hours and bring your pet to work days to increase employee engagement and it’s working, our employees are saying they’re happy!”

Does this sound familiar?

Do you believe your organization doesn’t have to worry about employee engagement because turnover is lower than industry standards and your employees seem happy?

FACT a happy employee does not always equal an engaged employee. Just because your company survey shows that people are happy at work, does not mean they are working hard, nor does it mean they are fullyshrm-logo2 engaged.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2012 Employee Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, 81% of U.S. employees reported overall satisfaction with their current job. But despite these high satisfaction levels, the same survey revealed that employees were only moderately engaged (3.6) on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is highly disengaged, 3 is moderately engaged and 5 is highly engaged.

So why should an organization care about employee engagement?

According to Gallup US businesses are loosing $450B to $550B annually due to low employee engagement.

The answer is simple, increased engagement drives bottom line results!

We encourage you to challenge that thought and ask yourself, is having satisfied employees enough to retain your top performers and impact the bottom-line?

High employee satisfaction can be easily accomplished by offering competitive compensation, benefits and good culture, which are also good first steps to increasing employee engagement. AND we’re not saying that employee satisfaction isn’t important, in fact we believe employee satisfaction can directly impact the level of employee engagement in an organization.

FACT Performance against revenue expectations is 23% greater for companies with high engagement compared to those with low engagement. (Source: 2011 Corporate Leadership Council HR Engagement Research Survey)

FACT Engaged employees are more than just happy and content, they are more committed, more productive, and they have a higher quality of work.

So in order for employees to go above and beyond companies need to go above and beyond.  

Here are 6 examples of companies committed to building high levels of employee engagement.

  1. Rackspace launched the Open Cloud Academy in San Antonio to train people for jobs in technology. More than 60% of Open Cloud Academy graduates were recruited to Rackspace, and all received full-time jobs.
  2. zappos-logoThe Zappos Grant-a-Wish program allows employees to submit and grant wishes as a way of building team and family spirit. In addition to employees granting wishes, Zappos as a company grants wishes. (Learn from Zappos “6 Ways Zappos Builds Employee Engagement”)
  3. The President of Toyotoshi Group Canada meets with employee representatives every month to hear feedback and suggestions directly from the front-lines. Most of the 100 employees suggestions gathered in 2013 were implemented.
  4. Qualcomm awards $1,500 bonuses to every employee who files a new patent. Last year new patent bonuses went to 1,794 employees.
  5. Deloitte has introduced Yammer, which is a platform that allows employees to share ideas, influence firm culture, seek support from others, and give public praise.
  6. Coca-Cola offers a variety of developmental opportunities to keep employees engaged, including the Coca-Cola University, which is a learning program for high performers.

Start-ups and small businesses, even mid-size businesses you may be thinking, well yeah, those are all huge successfully companies that can afford to do those things. What can I do?

And our answer is ANYTHING YOU WANT! Go ask your employees and they’ll tell you what engages them, then get CREATIVE!

And here are 3 examples that any size company can easily implement:

  1. Zappos employees love ‘Zollars’, the currency of Zappos employees. Managers and colleagues reward coworkers with Zollars for a job well done. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Allow your employees to use ‘company’ fun dollars to purchase ‘lunch with a senior manager’, to buy company branded items, to buy a PTO day, etc.
  2. unsplash-photo-mealEmployees at Benefits By Design who submit ideas that will help the company work smarter, as part of the company’s GO Program, are entered into a monthly draw. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Give away company swag or PTO day or free lunch. Make sure you publicize when an idea gets implemented to encourage participation and engagement.
  3. The Managing Director at Gibraltar Solutions personally circulates a ‘Smoothie Cart’ around the office each month, making smoothies for employees. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Monthly or quarterly have the President or CEO or VP personally deliver something, food, company swag, or take photos with people. If you take photos then you can hold a company-wide vote to choose the most hilarious photo and the winner gets to have lunch with President of the company.

Don’t allow your company to lose out – on production, revenue and top talent. Make sure the topic of employee engagement be an on-going conversation in your company, because high levels of employee engagement drive bottom-line results!

If you are interested in receiving our 2015 whitepaper on Engaging Millennials at Work just email us at info@wejungo.com with re: Engage Millennials WP in the subject line.

Please comment and share below. What is your company doing or not doing when it comes to engaging employees and retaining top talent?