Winning In Today's Economy Through Employee Engagement

Winning In Today's Economy Through Employee Engagement

This article originally appeared in Occupational Health & Safety.

If you’ve been paying even just a little attention to the news, you will know that the U.S. economy has been on a long upswing for the better part of a decade. Unemployment is at its lowest point in over 50 years. According to President Trump’s State of the Union address last week, “…wages are rising fast and, wonderfully, they are rising fastest for low-income workers.”

This is, of course, fantastic!

…BUT, it creates a tough challenge for anyone in charge of hiring and retaining workers – from CEOs to frontline managers:

I’ve already increased wages, but I still can’t keep my best workers and I’m having trouble attracting the workers I want. It’s driving me crazy! How can I compete without breaking the bank?

Sound familiar? We hear it all the time.

While certainly no one has ever complained about a raise, today’s frontline workers are looking for more than money.

The Benefits of Employee Engagement

Last year, Gallup released the results of an interesting study on the relationship between employee engagement and company performance. Among its findings are the fact that business teams who scored in the top quartile in terms of employee engagement enjoyed:

  • 41% lower absenteeism
  • 24% less turnover in high-turnover sectors
    (the impact on turnover in low-turnover sectors was more than twice this!)
  • 70% fewer safety incidents
  • 40% fewer defects
  • 10% higher customer ratings
  • 17% higher productivity
  • 20% higher sales and 21% higher profitability!

The report goes on to outline twelve elements of employee engagement that predict high team performance. Five of these elements struck me as particularly powerful for the frontline worker:

  1. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  2. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  3. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  4. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.

The last one especially resonates with me. Our work with clients and thousands of frontline workers has shown this to be so true.

Workers value programs that show that the company truly cares about them. This is especially true if the program not only helps them do their jobs better, but also helps them in their lives outside of work.

From the Field

For instance, the Hub Group, who has seen its injury rate fall 63% over its three years working with Worklete, credits part of the success of the program to:

  • creating a culture in which workers better watch out for (and correct) one another, and
  • teaching workers things they can apply in their everyday lives.

(To read more about Hub’s experience, please click here.)

Many of the elements Gallup identify seem obvious when you read them. However, surprisingly (and rather alarmingly!) only a small percentage of employees strongly agree that their employer delivers on them. In fact, that same Gallup study reports that globally 85% of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work.

Remember this:

The fact that other companies aren’t doing these things well presents an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself and that’s the good news. Recall a few of the major benefits of employee engagement outlined by Gallup: 70% fewer safety incidents, 24% lower turnover, 21% higher profitability. By taking strides to improve your workers’ engagement, you can keep your best workers, attract the candidates you want, AND improve safety and productivity.

…all without breaking the bank!

Wondering how other world-class organizations are tackling safety? Check out 3 Companies Prioritizing Safety.

And follow Worklete on Linkedin to stay up-to-date on the latest in injury prevention, safety culture, and operational efficiency.


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