A primary focus of the workplace today is to be engaged. There’s a common misconception that work engagement is the same thing as productivity, but please don’t be mistaken. Engagement typically relates to the commitment and loyalty workers have for their company, whereas productivity is ultimately when a company produces as much as it can given its technology and workforce. Engagement can mean job satisfaction, emotional investment, or supporting the company as an excellent place to work. According to Gallup, only 32% of US employees who actively engaged in the workplace. In some instances, longer work days correlate with higher engagement, but this is not always true.
There are variables that are specific to every company. According to a study by Gallup, employee engagement impacts a number performance outcomes including customer ratings, profitability, productivity, quality (defects), and turnover.
Take Southwest for example, what started out as a small Dallas based airline now employs about 47,000 people and serves more than 100 million customers annually. In addition, they also have been ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction by the US Department of Transportation. “In order of importance, Southwest ranks employees first, customers second, and shareholders third. ‘We believe that if we treat our employees right, they will treat our customers right, and in turn that results in increasedbusiness and profits that make everyone happy.’” They put their employees first and in return employees put the customers first by living up to their motto, “Live the Southwest way”.
When companies focus on measuring engagement versus improving engagement, there are shortcomings that occur. They tend to focus more on surveys and measures that tell leaders and managers what they want to hear instead of the reality of the situation. “Companies that base their engagement strategy on a survey or metrics-only solutioncan find themselves caught in a “rinse and repeat” pattern, focusing on engagement periodically — usually around survey time. The result is that these companies make false promises to employees, pledging change through intensive communication campaigns but providing little actual follow-through.” By honing in on these issues and helping to be aware of them, it can help the overall engagement AND productivity in the company.