Employee disengagement has escalated from disconcerting trend to full-blown epidemic. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, nearly 70% of U.S. employees are disengaged at work.
And several research studies have found a correlation between the level of employee engagement and company profits. Specifically, Dale Carnegie Training reports organizations with engaged employees outperform those with disengaged employees by 202 percent and Towers Perrin estimates that highly engaged employees boost a company’s net profit margin by 6 percent. Conversely, a recent Engagement Institute study suggests that workers who aren’t engaged collectively drain American corporations of up to $550 billion annually.
Who Owns Employee Engagement?
While employee engagement has traditionally been the responsibility of the Human Resources department, several factors have made this relationship more complicated. For example, teams today tend to be more widely distributed, with an increasing number of employees working remotely. As a result, expectations regarding connectivity and teamwork, as well as the technology required to achieve those objectives, have changed. In this brave, new, flat world, HR increasingly shares the responsibility of worker engagement with each department head.
Drowning in Disengagement? Hi-Tech to the Rescue
In response to the increased complexity surrounding employee engagement, HR technologies are redefining HR. Today, HR success is gauged by its performance in the following engagement categories: recruitment/onboarding, benefits/compensation, learning/development, employee recognition and employee feedback.
In particular, startups are spawning new applications that can help organizations boost employee engagement. Many of these Internet-based enterprises are bringing new solutions to old challenges – not only for technology products and services but also in their approach to employee engagement. Specifically, such powerhouses as LinkedIn and Intuit are leveraging AI, intuitive design and actionable intelligence to help make employees happier and more successful at work.
Note to Companies: Be Happy or Die
A tone-deaf, unsupportive, even toxic workplace environment can begin to erode the foundations of any company. It is critical for firms to listen to, understand and take action on employee feedback. The data clearly shows that there is a significant return to organizations that focus on employee experience over the long term. AI, the cloud, video communication, social networks, mobile and other technological innovations are transforming the way businesses understand, interact and manage their most precious resource, their talent.