The Case for Engagement

Last year, a study found that just 40 per cent of employees are satisfied in their jobs.*

This is bad for business. And it’s bad for the individual.

An unhappy employee creates costs – financially, reputationally and in terms of morale. Dissatisfaction shows itself though reduced productivity, poor customer service and lack of innovation. An unhappy employee will not feel motivated to excel in their role or deliver continuous improvement. Indeed, this unhappiness may also lead to stress or depression – which can create absence, in some cases, long-term. And when a dissatisfied employee decides to leave a company, this not only creates financial loss – through recruitment costs or interim arrangements – but loss of skills and knowledge.

An unhappy employee can diminish a company’s reputation. A jaded remark or critical comment, in person or through the easily accessible social media route, will have a ripple effect, helping to shape a negative image. This can impact upon a whole range of existing and potential audiences including employees, customers, partners, and suppliers.

And unhappiness can be contagious within the workforce. A dissatisfied employee can lead to others questioning their own relationship with their employer. The result can be a serious dent in morale which could manifest itself in a range of ways, such as through performance and behaviours.

But aside from the very obvious business case for delivering employee satisfaction, morally, do we really want our people feeling dissatisfied? Whether full or part-time, our work consumes a huge amount of our time and energy – both doing it and thinking about it. To spend such an amount of precious life in discontentment to me is unethical. We all have the right to be happy – including in the workplace.

Which is why I feel so passionate about transformational engagement and the satisfaction it can bring. I believe in companies who engage – who ask, who listen, who recognise, who reward, who are open, who are authentic, who tell their employees ‘you make a difference.’ It is these companies which will thrive and grow and succeed because they are built around satisfied employees.

I have been fortunate to work for a company which empowered me through engagement and which valued me for the contribution I could make – and which allowed me to be me. I want this for everyone. Not least of all I want it for my daughter. One day she will be in the workplace and I want her to feel valued, supported, involved and empowered so her confidence grows and her happiness soars. And I am going to do all that I can to support this to happen.

*CIPD Employee Outlook Spring 2016

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