The most recent Gallup ‘State of the Workplace’ survey – the 2017 ‘State of the American Workplace’ survey shows that 33% of employees are ‘engaged’; 16% are ‘disengaged’ – actively hostile to their workplace environment; and 51% are ‘not engaged’ – they show up for work and go through the motions. These figures have improved only marginally in the last decade – in 2006, 30% of US employees were engaged; 15% were disengaged; and 55% were ‘not engaged’. (Gallup’s last global survey, published in 2013, showed that, worldwide, the level of employee engagement was a dismal 13%.)
The 2017 US Gallup survey also show that, compared with companies in the bottom quartile in terms of employee engagement, those in the top quartile had 17% higher productivity; 20% higher sales and 21% higher profitability. The report also argues that ‘organizations put too much emphasis on measuring engagement, rather than on improving engagement.’
Improving engagement is not just ‘nice to have’. We need to improve employee engagement, not just to make people happier at work (though that is, indeed, nice to have) but because higher engagement will turn into better financial performances. It will turn into hard cash.
To take some extremely broad brushstroke figures, the Gallup report suggests that companies with the highest employee engagement have 21% higher profitability than companies with the lowest engagement.
Suppose – just suppose – that UK companies could increase their profitability by 20% across the board as a result of improved employee engagement. At The Human Energy Organisation, we believe that this figure is entirely achievable.
Let’s do some back-of-the-envelope sums. The UK’s GDP is in the region of £3 trillion. A 20% increase in GDP would generate an extra £600 billion. The tax take on £600 billion at the current 19% corporation tax rate is £114 billion. Planned spending in the UK for 2016/17 on the National Health System is around £120 billion.
The size of the potential prize is huge. Improving productivity by improving employee engagement could transform, not only individual company’s performances, but our whole economy.
It’s time to stop going through the motions with engagement surveys, patting ourselves on the back for achieving improvements in our ‘engagement profile’ year on year, or for having higher levels of engagement in our Bristol office than in our London office.
Run the eGap diagnostic on your organisation now and discover the precise dimensions of your organisational culture that are creating disengagement. Then you can start to have meaningful conversations with colleagues and begin the process of real change – little by little and piece by piece – to free the remarkable human energy that is currently going to waste in your organisation.