thumbs upWhen it comes to talent management, a surprising number of companies still believe that the process stops the minute an employee steps in the door. Even if they claim to cultivate, train, motivate and monitor employees to optimize productivity, their actual investment in these strategies isn’t what it should be – and their bottom lines tend to reflect this. Employees who are simply left to their own devices and given zero feedback actually show lower levels of engagement than those who are part of a company with solid engagement strategies in place.

Why is engagement so important? Low employee engagement costs organizations money! And lots of it.  Instead of explaining how, I thought I would let the numbers tell you. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but these are worth millions in business costs.

  • An estimated 23% of payroll cost is unproductive because of low engagement.
  • Only two out of every ten people are fully engaged in their job.
  • Only 14% of the workforce is in a role that draws on their strengths.

Source: HiringSmart

To further these numbers, a Gallup research poll indicates that 54% of U.S. employees are not at all engaged at work and only 29% are truly motivated and engaged. Imagine only half of employees being fully passionate and driven to accomplish company goals – there seems to be a lot of room for improvement.

Let’s go over briefly what ‘employee-engagement’ is. According to Scarlette Surveys International, employee engagement is defined as the measureable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization which influences their willingness to learn & perform at work. Overall, an engaged employee is passionate about their job, is dedicated to achieving business goals, and is committed to the success of their company.

As you can infer, employee engagement is an important factor in business success. In fact, “Engagement is the single most reliable indicator of business performance. The more engaged a group of people is, the more committed they are to generating results” ( Jan van der Hoop, Vice President of HiringSmart Canada). Thus one can assume that an increase in employee engagement should result in a subsequent increase in employee performance. It is this increase in performance that will set off a chain of events that will result in organizational success on many levels including; employee satisfaction, customer retention, increased revenues, decreased costs, and most importantly, a move toward a potent talent-base which is always a good thing.

  • The top 16% of employees generate 60% of revenues.
  • The bottom 16% of employees cost the company 20% in revenues.

Source: HiringSmart

If your levels of productivity and engagement could use a boost, consider the following tips:

4 Tips for Elevating Employee Engagement

1. Take employee engagement seriously. Underlying almost every personnel problem, from corner cutting to poor communication to general high turnover, there’s a central issue at work; employees who simply don’t care about long term company success. When you’re ready to tackle an engagement problem, don’t just stay on the surface or treat the symptoms. Get to the heart of the matter. And whatever you find, take action. Adjust compensation if you need to, or get rid of a bad apple in upper management, but whatever you do, face the issue head on. How do you find what the issues are? ASK! Employee engagement surveys are a great tool for collecting meaningful data about the current state of employee engagement present in your organization. And don’t just ask once – ask frequently. Encourage managers to open the door to honest feedback and communication with employees. emPerform includes an online survey tool that allows companies to create and execute and unlimited number of engagement surveys (as well as others such as 360 surveys, onboarding surveys, and customer surveys). See also : The Do’s and Don’ts of Executing Engagement Surveys.

2. Beware of external motivators. Simple rewards and punishments can only take engagement levels so far. If employees go through the motions or fake enthusiasm only after being begged, bribed, or threatened, something’s wrong with your talent management system. This is why it is important to not only ask once, but follow up and ask again and refine your engagement strategy to reflect what works and what doesn’t in your particular organization.

3. Improve, customize and standardize your employee review process. Does your evaluation process actually elevate employee output and improve results in a meaningful way? If not, reconsider both your data management tools and your company philosophy regarding reviews and goal setting. It may be time for a new evaluation platform, one that not only automates the process of collecting performance data, but also helps you apply it in ways that drives meaningful change. emPerform offers a comprehensive suite of talent management tools that can help your HR personnel integrate and cross reference appraisal data, 360 data, self-assessments, and engagement surveys. Any trends can be quickly pointed out and addressed and the results can be fed into important decision making processes like compensation planning and succession management.  Streamlined reviews ensure that performance metrics are reflected in other important engagement tools such as promotions and pay.

4. Make sure your employee evaluations have year-round impact. Even the best appraisal system won’t raise engagement levels unless managers are willing to follow through. Keep communication channels open and active all year long, and recognize that both employee and company success are built on a foundation of sustained team effort. Performance management software that includes a tool for year-round feedback is essential for giving managers and employees a platform for documenting and recognizing performance accomplishments and milestones and ensuring that those feats are considered when the annual review comes around (see emPerform tag) and ensuring that engagement is encouraged all year – not just during appraisals.

What ever the current state of engagement is on your team, in your department, or across your organization as a whole, it is up to HR and managers to effectively assess the current levels and devise a realistic and effective plan to get employees excited about reaching their goals and actively owning their roles. There will always be a select few staff members who show less-than-desired levels of passion; however, great processes and keen surveys and performance reviews ensures that the segment of under-engaged is kept to the bare minimum and that high-engagement and excitement becomes the standard for employee excellence and rewards.

To learn more about automating vital talent management processes like appraisals and year-round feedback, visit