On Google-ing employee engagement stats, Huffpost Business’s Jeff Fermin tells us that 88% of employees still have no passion for their work. Which is a worrying stat both for employee happiness and business performance.
In fact, the most compelling case for the connection between engagement and business performance (bottom line) was the Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study of 32,000 employees across 30 countries. This study also recognises the difference between ‘regular engagement’ and ‘sustainable engagement’:
Regular Engagement – the willingness to invest discretionary effort on the job
Sustainable engagement – a work environment that more fully energises employees by promoting their physical, emotional and social wellbeing
The definitions of these two types of engagement are quite different, and the following results relating to them highlight the importance of their difference.
Companies’ level of engagement | Average one-year operating margin (%)
Regular Engagement – 14
Sustainable Engagement – 27
So, the benefits of doing ‘sustainable engagement’ (or doing engagement right) are rather clear. And when it comes to doing things right, Google CEO and Co-founder, Larry Page lives by the gospel of ’10 times better’. As it seems with engagement, most companies would be happy to improve by 10%. Page says, however:
‘A 10% improvement basically means you are doing the same thing as everybody else. You probably wont fail, but you are guaranteed not to succeed wildly.’
Page expects his employees to create products and services that are 10 times better than anybody else’s.
‘Changing by 10% is tweaking. In order to improve by 10 times you have to turn things on their head, explore what is possible and have much more fun in the process’.
Now, don’t worry – this isn’t going to crack on to tell you to do exactly what Google do and that Google employees love Google because Google do Google blah blah blah.
But as a company that continues to be voted the best to work for, remains a growth stock, and even has a film about it, you can guarantee that this type of thought has gone into engaging its employees. And it’s this type of thought that should go into engaging employees. After all, they’re the ones whose job it is to deliver the products and services that are 10 times better than the competition’s.
The way we uncover creative and fun ways to sustainably boost engagement levels is through really getting underneath the skin of an organisation, and building solutions exactly around that. That’s where we believe doing things right really begins when it comes to engagement. Because every organisation is unique, and just because beanbags and free lunch work for Google, doesn’t mean it will work for your organisation. But, if you do things right and really understand your employees and what’s possible in the context of their world, you can discover brilliant things that will work.
If you’re not Google, have a look at how we believe you can discover ways of getting ‘Google style’ engagement.