How cultivating employee engagement boosts your bottom line

The ROI of motivating your workforce is easier to gauge than you might think. Their enthusiasm gets passed along to your customers, directly or indirectly.

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Many leaders have spent countless hours hoping for business to return to pre-recession vitality levels.

They’ve waited for something to rescue them from the seemingly endless challenges they’re facing daily. They’ve also awaited a breakthrough to snap the economy out of the doldrums and set their organizations back onto the path of prosperity.

Some realized that breakthrough would come from someone, not something. These leaders encouraged their employees to help navigate the challenges and economic uncertainty.

Their organizations have weathered the bumps better than most as they positioned themselves advantageously for better days ahead. They knew the key to more innovation, cost savings, increased profitability, organizational growth and more satisfied and loyal customers was right under their noses all along.

Related: Free guide: 10 ways to reach non-desk employees

Engagement is essential to business success

A wealth of research from the Gallup Organization supports that statement and goes on to validate that engaging your employees or your customers generates up to two-and-a-half times the financial gains than if you didn’t invest in engagement. If you optimize engagement levels in both customers and employees, you can more than double those gains again.

Willis Towers Watson uncovered similar results. Companies with engaged employees enjoy a 19 percent increase in operating income; without engagement, operating income decreases 30 percent. (That’s a variance of almost 50 percent and could well mean the difference between surviving the next downturn and not.) They also found a 15 percent improvement in engagement levels led to a 2 percent improvement in operating margins—an advantage few leaders can afford to ignore.

Just about everything a company must do to succeed is driven by the people connected with your organization—your customers, suppliers and, most especially, your employees. Each of those groups can contribute to your success—or detract from it—and there’s no escaping that your organization’s future depends on how well you align them with your corporate objectives.

Increasing employee commitment levels can lead to a 57 percent improvement in their discretionary effort, which can then lead to a 20 percent improvement in overall performance, according to the CEB.

Investing in your staff

The power of an engaged workforce is so strong that Quantum Workplace has discovered a significant relationship between employee engagement levels and economic indicators such as unemployment rates, stock prices, consumer sentiment and even fuel prices.

If you’re still not convinced about the benefits of investing in your employee assets, please consider:

  • Gallup says customers are affected by their experience with your employees three to six times more than any of your other marketing initiatives.
  • Twenty-seven percent of consumers determine your company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility based on your treatment of employees, and 76 percent make purchasing decisions based on your employee treatment, per the National Consumers League.
  • Willis Towers Watson found that good human capital practices are consistently a leading indicator of corporate financial performance.

Taking action now to more fully engage your employees will help you reinvigorate your organization and recover more quickly from the next, inevitable downturn.

Your employees are your cavalry, and they’re just waiting for you to lead them in charging up the hill to corporate success.

A version of this post first appeared on TLNT.

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