Why employee engagement is one of the most undervalued drivers of lasting change.
When it comes to digital transformation, a step-change in focus on customer experience is commonly seen to be one of the key catalysts behind many of the shifts that need to take place in organisational approaches, thinking, processes and structures. And yet there is a another side of experience that we ignore at our peril — the experience that we create for our employees.
If digital transformation is truly 10% technology and 90% human, then we need to pay far greater attention to employee engagement as an energiser for change. This should be thought of not as a nice-to-have luxury but a core component of achieving lasting change in a world of continuously shifting contexts. And this is brought into even sharper focus when we consider the huge problem we already have in employee engagement worldwide.
Gallup (who’ve been doing research into this area for years) have conducted a data meta-analysis looking at the relationship between team performance and employee engagement. It’s a big piece of analysis covering 82,000 teams and 1.8 million employees in 230 organisations (across 73 countries and 49 industries). They make the point that whilst studies have long suggested a collective intelligence of teams that goes beyond the sum of the individual team member’s abilities, it has always been difficult to find any reliable predictors for team performance. But their meta-analysis reveals that across a wide variation in industry, market and economic environment the relationship between employee engagement and performance is consistent across 12 key factors. Factors which fit very neatly with the characteristics for employee engagement that we describe in the book, and those that we also propose can create the organisational culture for moving fast.
When the researchers compared the performance metrics of teams that were engaged against those who were actively disengaged, they found that the top teams had four times the odds of success compared with the bottom teams. Name me an organisation that would not be willing to focus on factors that can drive such significant gains in performance. In the context of the digitally-empowered world in which we now operate, team performance is absolutely critical. It’s time that a far greater emphasis be placed on employee engagement and the role that employee experience can play in supporting real and lasting organisational change.
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Neil Perkin is the Founder of Only Dead Fish. Author of Building the Agile Business. Strategy guy, digital guy, chicken...