What if 100 percent of your employees were engaged in your business? According to Gallup, that would translate to an increase of anywhere from $450-550B in increased revenue for US companies alone. Those are daunting numbers in the macro. But what matters is how it translates to your business. Even if it were only 1 percent of your revenue, wouldn’t you want to know?
The HBR May cover article, “Blue Ocean Leadership,” uses the Gallup research as a jumping-off point to examine the issue of lack of engagement from a leadership perspective. Their primary focus is the importance of training executives to properly lead, and they lay out a four-step approach to get there. It’s all good, and well worth the read.
What the article didn’t touch on was the how of getting — and keeping — employees enthused, engaged and committed to the company and each other’s success. What works? What doesn’t? What’s the best use of people’s time and company resources to help ensure that result? And, specifically, does mission-based leadership play a role?
That’s what we looked at in our new research report, The State of Employee Engagement in Sustainability and CSR. Five years of trending data provide the answer; giving insight to the evolution of sustainability and CSR in driving effective employee engagement.
From the research we found three main findings:
- A consistent increase in official employee engagement policies on sustainability: Employee engagement policies on sustainability have been increasing significantly over time. Almost twice as many organizations now have an official policy in place, compared to 2011 data.
2. The growing relationship between HR and sustainability engagement: HR is increasingly viewed as the main advocate for sustainability, and employee recruitment and retention grew as the main purpose for sharing organizational sustainability efforts and results. 3. The correlation between the effectiveness of employee engagement programs with more frequent communication in driving behavior change: The evidence that consistent and frequent promotion of sustainability efforts will lead to higher program engagement and effectiveness continues to climb.
To create habits, which ultimately lead to behavior change, it is important that the behaviors employees adopt in the workplace are carried home, and vice versa. The survey results show an overwhelming willingness to do just that, further suggesting that a comprehensive approach to engagement will deliver better results.
A theme we found among the results is the growing influence of Millennials (those under 30) in shaping sustainability and CSR strategy for organizations. They want more purpose and greater value in their work — and where they work. They want to learn more about what their employer and co-workers are doing in this area. And, given their propensity for social media, we know they’ll share that information. So the Human Resources function, charged with attracting and retaining talent, is getting more involved.
These findings are completely congruent with what we’re experiencing with our customers — some of the largest global businesses — and with what we’re seeing in the market in general. The C-Suite is increasingly adding employee engagement in their management dashboard because they recognize its impact on the overall health of the business. Bain & Company’s 2013 study, The Big Green Talent Machine, states that a full 40 percent of employees care “a lot more” about what their company is doing in sustainability than they did three years ago, with an additional 30 percent caring “somewhat more.” A plugged-in leader knows full well that these are perilous numbers to ignore.
We invite you to download our full report here. Our hope is it will inform roadmap development for even more effective employee engagement strategies, and capture some of that Gallup-cited lost revenue!