Readers of these pages will know we have followed and admired the work of the employee engagement movement, Engage for Success. In 2012, having collaborated with Bath University, they published an important paper, Nailing the Evidence, citing employee engagement as a driver of organisational performance.
Back then (Office of National Statistics – 2011) the UK had a productivity deficit of 15 percent below the average for the rest of the G7 industrialised nations. And on an output per worker basis, UK productivity was 20 percent lower than the rest of the G7 – the widest productivity gap since 1995.
As their Evidence paper demonstrated, they saw a firm correlation between employee engagement (or lack of) and high organisational productivity and performance, across all sectors of the economy. Analysis from IBM Kenexa indicated that were the UK to move its engagement levels to the middle of the top quartile, such as that for the Netherlands, this would be associated with a £25.8bn increase in GDP.
In the meantime, Engage for Success have continued their work with industry partners and published a substantial follow up report, featuring a series of valuable UK case studies. Two things have not changed since 2012: the state of Engagement in the UK remains low, with only around a third of workers being highly engaged, and productivity continues to lag nearly 20% behind that of other G7 countries.
Titled, Further Evidence, it discusses the continuing definitional challenge of Employee Engagement, concluding that what matters more than the choice of measure and model is the organisational response, and the Change Management capabilities within the organisation. What Emenex regards as a more transformative change for the organisation, driven from the top.
The report shows that while some evidence points to links with performance, the really compelling case studies show a Return on Investment against the cost of improving engagement. It asks, if links exist with performance, why evidence is not easier to find.
It offers advice to organisations wanting to build their own business case, highlighting the value of ‘light’ and ‘full fat’ business cases and how to go about creating them. For the latter, the report emphasises, the importance of compiling internal engagement data. At Emenex, in this respect, we’ve witnessed the importance of industry benchmarking too – IBM Kenexa Survey, for example.
The report concludes with a Call to Action. Visit Engage for Success here to read their synopsis and download the full report (43 pages).