Are high levels of employee satisfaction vital to business success and performance? Is employee satisfaction not what drives every successful business? We think not! Lets dive deeper...
Some of our findings from our research include; employee engagement and alignment drive business performance and profit - employee satisfaction is therefore a necessary component of employee engagement, and alignment is actually core to business success.
So, what do we mean by this? Lets clarify. When we mention engagement we mean an emotional commitment an employee has to their work or organisation, an engaged employee will meet business objectives, even if that means going above and beyond to meet those objectives. But here's the clincher, employees can be happy in their role but not productive, for example, your employee who spends a large percentage of their day socialising but production levels are low isn't unhappy - quite the opposite, albeit operating in silo and oblivion. On the flip side an employee who aligns their behaviours and actions to meet their role requirements and team objectives, as well as the overall business goals is aligned and engaged, they want to be successful. I know if I could choose, who I would prefer on my team.
The scary bit of research however, indicates that only 23% of the Australasian workforce is engaged (AHRI Assist, 2019), suggesting that around 77% of businesses are paying their workforce to just be 'present' and possibly work against the interests of the business. Whatever the individual case maybe these labour costs are not sustainable for any business.
To pose the question; are you a business owner or manager communicating effectively with your employees when your business is low or average performing? Our data suggests very few business leaders are. Unfortunately, the risk here is employees are then focused on the wrong objective unknowingly.
Our own extensive research of Australasian businesses over the past 10 years, shows employee satisfaction results are skewed more positively than business performance or employer satisfaction results, and are less relevant or aligned when businesses are not performing to expectations or achieving business goals.
Research released by Harvard Business School further identified the importance of employee engagement, while finding that less than 50% of companies actually measured engagement against performance.
Once you see employee engagement, (rather than satisfaction) actually counts, then the next step is to understand what to count! Research identifies the engagement drivers that have the most impact on business performance include;
Alignment across all levels of the business.
Recognition of high performers.
Jobs linked to strategy.
Aligned assessments and reviews to corporate goals.
Pay linkages to corporate goal achievement.
Training focused on corporate goals.
Research by MIT/Sloan Management Review identified 5 dimensions that all count towards securing or maintaining high levels of engagement and alignment within a business. Our own HR Coach research around the significance of alignment for business performance and profitability also ties into this, with our Strategic Action Model - underpinning ongoing methodology and assessment tools, and focusing specifically on the need for businesses to ensure ongoing activity and energy is aligned to their strategy!
Now you have a better understanding on employee engagement and alignment, and of course their drivers, how does this link to performance? A data analytics company reviewing company performance and engagement results found the following differences between low and high performing businesses as a result of low to high engagement numbers, these differences were quantifiable and linked directly to company performance and profitability.
Employee satisfaction counts for 25% of your business's performance, but it's not enough, and if you are predominantly focused on only that, its unlikely to maximise your profit expectations. Its important to note that there are many businesses not even measuring employee satisfaction and these businesses really have a great opportunity to measure and focus on the items that will genuinely make a difference to both their business and future profit. The evidence is overwhelming!
If you want to stay or become a high performing business, you need to measure the right things.
If you would like to know more around the data, further research on why employee satisfaction doesn't mean profit and how your business can improve it's strategic alignment by simply focusing on four key areas, then contact your local coach and download our White Paper: Employee Satisfaction Doesn't Mean Profit.