The concept of engaged employees doing better work is widely understood. But the challenge is convincing others it is a worthwhile investment and knowing how much to invest in this concept. Sound familiar? That’s because many organizations don’t know what to measure to determine how much money can be gained by (re) engaging employees.

Defining Employee Engagement

Before making a case for an employee engagement investment, it’s important to understand exactly what it means. The most straightforward and short definition of employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This should not be confused with employee happiness or satisfaction. Someone could be happy at work and satisfied with the company culture, their compensation, and benefits, but that does not mean they are working hard or go the extra mile. Employee satisfaction simply isn’t enough.

In the last several years, the study of employee engagement and company culture has vastly increased in popularity among researchers, publications, and thought leaders. One of the biggest benefits of this attention is an understanding of the profound impact of employee engagement on company success:

“Employees are more likely to participate in work initiatives with enthusiasm, bring more brainpower and creativity to their daily tasks, and go the extra mile. Engaged employees are also five times less likely to voluntarily leave the company. These engagement indicators have obvious surface-level value in the workplace, but their long-term effects are even more powerful.” – Society for Human Resource Management’s Employee Engagement and Commitment.

Employee Engagement and Your Bottom Line

HR professionals understand the power of people, but it is difficult to translate that power into a clear return on investment (ROI). This difficulty is attributed to not knowing what to measure. There are 3 main aspects to calculate the ROI of employee engagement:

  • Productivity
  • Absenteeism
  • Turnover

Speed of Onboarding

Signs that an employee is engaged such as creativity, energy, and enthusiasm, may seem subtle or insignificant to higher levels of leadership — but when it’s translated into maximum productivity, efficiency and profitability, decision-makers are more likely to invest.

Conducting internal surveys is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to measure these aspects of employee engagement. However, short and irregular scheduled surveys don’t yield that data that will translate into increased profitability. It’s important to get a complete picture of employee engagement. To get a complete picture of employee engagement, organizations should conduct surveys regularly and include as much detail as possible.

Investing in Employee Engagement

Expanding employee benefits has proven to make employees feel more valued and increases interactions with their organization – and is the most direct path to employee engagement. Benefits extend beyond health, 401(k) and PTO. To make an investment in employee engagement financially feasible, organizations can get creative on what they offer within their benefits packages. Adding a financial literacy program, further-education compensation, automated bonuses or above-average PTO are a few ways employers can stay competitive with benefits packages.

To learn more about how you can increase employee engagement, contact our employer advocates or learn more about expanding employee benefits.