Your 2014 Revenue Growth Strategy: Engaged Employees

John Follett

Join us for a free eWorkshop on December 12th @ 1pm ET to get a full briefing on the results of the employee engagement study referenced in this post.

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Demand Metric has just completed a study on employee engagement. Why should marketers care? Employee engagement is important, but most companies relegate the responsibility for it to Human Resources, right?

Well, it’s true that HR tends to own employee engagement initiatives when they exist, but marketers should ignore this topic at their own peril. Here’s why: employee engagement has the potential to create a highly sustainable competitive advantage. At Demand Metric, we haven’t met a marketer yet that isn’t interested in gaining a competitive advantage. Most of us in the marketing community look elsewhere for competitive advantages. We are quick to recognize them when they come in the form of product innovation or brand awareness. But employee engagement? It just sounds, well, uninteresting. It’s time we took a different view.

Look closely at any company (Click Here for Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For 2013) that has earned a “best place to work” award, or one that regularly wins accolades from customers and you’ll discover a common thread: highly engaged employees. What exactly does it mean to have highly engaged employees? There are several textbook definitions, but the simplest one is this: employees who are working for more than just the paycheque.

The way it used to work was this: employers could secure the full commitment and best effort of the workforce with a decent wage and benefits. The problem with this formula is that it leaves out an increasingly critical component: the emotional connection or bond between an employee and the organization. For companies to compete at the highest level and on the biggest stage, this emotional bond is not optional.

Intellectually, it’s very easy to make an argument for improving employee engagement. It’s the same argument for flossing or regular tire rotation: it makes good sense, but viewed this way, it’s just not very compelling. The employee engagement study just completed paints a far more compelling picture. Compared to companies with lower levels of engagement, companies with higher levels report higher levels of benefits in several key areas:

  • Revenue growth: 15% higher
  • Customer retention: 17% higher
  • Profit margin: 18% higher

Having more engaged employees leads to better organizational performance and customers feel the difference. In our study on this topic, 51% of almost 300 participating organizations reported a workforce of engagement level of below 50%. Essentially half of organizations are leaving a source of tremendous competitive advantage on the table. The organizations that figure out how to nurture engagement turn the potential energy in the workforce into the kinetic energy of engagement, creating a significant competitive advantage in the process.

Join us for a free eWorkshop on December 12th @ 1pm ET to get a full briefing on the results of the employee engagement study referenced in this post.

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