Companies hire people based largely on tangible factors. However, the most critical measure of an employee's potential impact on the company -- engagement -- is often overlooked. That measurement is what could ultimately bring a business to the next level or lead to its downfall when it comes to communicating a positive brand voice to its audiences.
Employee engagement isn't a measure of how well people do their job, but rather, the emotional commitment they have to the organization and its goals. There's a big difference between a satisfied employee and an engaged one. Satisfied employees do the work that's asked of them, collect a paycheck and expend as much effort as is needed to sustain adequacy. Engaged employees care passionately about their work and are more likely to use discretionary effort to go beyond their responsibilities. They make the extra calls, take on tasks outside their job description and shift the weight off of those who struggle in order for the company as a whole to succeed. Unfortunately, approximately only one-third of U.S. employees fall into this category.
While the satisfied employee is content to get by, the engaged employee is communicating their company's value to clients, customers and prospective employees, while simultaneously improving the bottom line. According to Towers Watson, organizations with engaged employees showed a 19% increase in operating income over a 12-month period, compared with 34% decrease in companies with disengaged employees. Conversely, within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates this cost of actively disengaged personnel to be more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone.
These are the people closest to clients, customers and other key stakeholders, but also the ones who have the power to create meaningful and positive change within an organization. According to the Temkin Group Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, highly engaged employees are 480% more committed to helping their companies succeed and 370% more likely to recommend their company as an employer.
Engaged employees are a company's greatest brand evangelists. Constellation Research Group found that engaged employees are three times more likely to recommend or advocate a product or service to a friend. A company with as few as 20 employees that are actively engaged in social media can effectively reach thousands of people across multiple circles of influence with a positive message about the organization.
Every employee has a passion, and it's up to the organization to unleash it. The level of employee engagement is directly correlated to the culture a company creates and communicates. To remain competitive, it requires a shift in the mindset that often accepts -- and even rewards -- competence. Companies need to evaluate whether every employee is empowered to capitalize on their strengths, or if they are limited by the strict parameters of a job description that fails to encourage discretionary effort, which can lead to a negative message when engaging with key stakeholders.
Employees are the face and voice of every brand. If they aren't passionate about what they do, a company shouldn't be surprised when its customers aren't passionate about doing business with it.