Published in conjunction with

The Enterprise Engagement
Alliance Networking Expo
Enterprise Engagement Alliance

The World of Engagement Research

An overview of the most important stats, studies and surveys available on all aspects of engagement…

Back in 2009 when the Enterprise Engagement Alliance was first organized, we made it part of our mission to gather all the meaningful research on this subject we could find in order to create a centralized resource for engagement information.

Our motto back then was “Engagement is an enterprise-wide endeavor that begins with people and ends with profitability,” and that still best encapsulates what engagement is all about – the critical connection between people, performance and profits.

Because we all come at engagement from different directions and disciplines, we’re well aware that there’s a lot of ground to cover and a lot of facets that comprise the big picture – human capital, benefits, communications, training, leadership, technology, retention, productivity, collaboration, motivation, management, measurement. Coming from the motivation side, our path to engagement naturally encompasses rewards & recognition and all that goes along with it. For others it’s human resources. Or performance. Or branding. Or customer service.

The whole point of Enterprise Engagement – taking a comprehensive, holistic approach – is to be as all-inclusive as possible, understanding that it takes time to bring all these various people, positions, policies, procedures and points of view together under one umbrella.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there. And research plays a major role in that journey. For those looking for benchmarks to measure their engagement efforts against, ammunition to convince corporate leaders that engagement is a topic of critical importance, ROI data to justify program costs – whatever your needs, you’ll hopefully find a stat, study or survey here that will help you reach your goal.

Internal/Employee Engagement

Keeping Engagement Alive During Tough Times

If you haven’t done so already, now is the time for you and your team members to take the initiative – define what your engagement objectives are, how they will be accomplished and get the necessary buy-in. Understand that engagement efforts don’t fall only to managers; the process needs to be a two-way street. This Excellence in Motivation white paper explores how to keep employee engagement alive, even during economic downturns. 

‘Attachment’ Levels Between Employers and Employees on the Rise

According to the latest Randstad Employee Attachment Index, 78% of respondents report feeling inspired to do their best at work; 76% are proud to work for their companies; and 66% enjoy going to work every day. Likewise, researchers found that employee volatility is down, with 60% reporting they would not give consideration to or accept a new job offer in the next six months.

Older Workers Most Engaged

A research study by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College examined work experiences of employees, finding that those 40 years old and older are the most engaged and demonstrate the highest level of organizational commitment, and that those 50 years old and older are the most satisfied with their jobs. The Generations of Talent study is one of few to assess the effects of country, age, and career stage among employees worldwide.

Engaged Workers See Glass as Half-Full

A Gallup study reports that employees who are in engaged in their work and workplace are twice as likely to report their organization is hiring new workers as those who are actively disengaged. On the other hand, workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace are far more likely to report their organization is letting people go than those who are engaged. These findings are from a special Gallup Daily tracking series conducted January through June 2011 to thoroughly explore American workers' engagement levels.

The Meaning of Employee Engagement

Published by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Valtera execs William H. Macey and Benjamin Schneider’s The Meaning of Employee Engagement is one of the first scholarly papers to discuss the “conceptual framework” of employee engagement in all its various forms and facets, providing a solid knowledge base for those looking to better understand the term and its history.  

Engagement Affects Employee Attitude, Perceptions

Engaged employees are better equipped to handle workplace relationships, stress and change, according to a Gallup Management Journal survey. When respondents were asked how they would characterize their interactions with their coworkers, 86% of engaged employees said their interactions were always positive or mostly positive, vs. 72% of unengaged workers and just 45% of actively disengaged workers. http://gmj.gallup.com/content/20770/gallup-study-feeling-good-matters-in-the.aspx

Block the Exits or Start Building Employee Loyalty

Two out of every three of your employees are likely to be heading for the exits and new jobs when the U.S. economy turns around, says this research report from ITAGroup. Three ways to quickly turn the situation around are: 1) Build transparency within your organization, 2) Provide opportunities for growth, and 3) Reward employees for meeting or exceeding those expectations. www.enterpriseengagement.org/direct/user/site/1/files/ITAGroupWhitePaper.pdf

Employee Engagement Rooted in Managers’ Leadership Skills

To drive higher levels of employee engagement, companies should work on improving the leadership skills of frontline managers, says a report from Aberdeen Group. According to Beyond Satisfaction: Engaging Employees to Retain Customers, more than half of best-in-class organizations provide training and tools to managers to help them better engage employees, and nearly all of the rest (45%) are planning to extend this type of training in the future.

Study Links Engagement and Performance

In a study of 245 firefighters and their supervisors, researchers Bruce Louis Rich, Jeffrey A. LePine and Eean R. Crawford found that job engagement was a significant predictor of both task performance and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). This is especially significant because job engagement was tested for its effect on performance and OCB simultaneously with job involvement, job satisfaction, and intrinsic motivation. www.mendeley.com/research/job-engagement-antecedents-and-effects-on-job-performance/

Engaged and Enabled Is Better

In a study by Hay Group, companies that effectively combine employee engagement and what researchers term “enablement” – essentially, putting them in the right roles and providing a supportive work environment – report significantly improved revenue growth, staff retention and employee performance. The top organizations in both engagement and enablement achieved revenue growth 4.5 times greater than their industry peers who ranked lowest in the study. Similarly, companies that both engage and enable employees demonstrate a total reduction in voluntary turnover of 54% vs. 40% with engaged employees.

Turbocharging Engagement

In a report entitled Turbocharging Employee Engagement, Towers Watson researchers examined the three main drivers of recognition by managers – inclusiveness, communication and trust. Each factor has important aspects that can power up or power down the effect of recognition on employee engagement. This “virtuous circle” represents one of management’s most potent tools for focusing employees on what matters to the enterprise and reinforcing the behaviors that contribute most directly to strategic success.

Engaging ‘Virtual’ Employees

At their Fourth Annual Think Tank, the Forum for People Performance Management & Measurement examined the challenges of building relationships between a company and virtual workers who may feel disenfranchised due to geography or cultural barriers. Key findings:

  • Engaging remote employees must be a strategic part of a bigger virtual employee management practice endorsed by top organizational leaders.
  • Formal policies and programs for virtual employees enhance the performance and quality of the work experience.
  • Leaders need to actively work on integrating virtual employees into the organizational culture.


The Top Drivers of Employee Engagement

Human capital management firm Sodexo’s 2012 Workplace Trends Report combines insight from clients, academia, principal research and leading facilities management and human resource trade organizations. Some highlights:

  • Employees are looking to organizations for tools and resources to help them simplify their lives, stay healthy and balanced, and bring their “whole self” to work as these continue to be top drivers of engagement.
  • Employee engagement, productivity, brand image and loyalty continue to be relevant measures of success.
  • Employees perceive the level of attention given to “soft” benefits such as wellness programs, on-site dining and gyms as a direct reflection on senior leadership and, more importantly, their level of engagement.


The Engagement/Wellness Connection

Research carried out in conjunction with Aon Hewitt’s Best Employers in Canada study shows a link between highly engaged employees and improved health and overall well-being. Those working at high-engagement organizations reported better physical health: 56% vs. 47% for employees at organizations with moderate engagement and 41% with low-engagement. Job stress levels were lower, too. Only 28% of employees at high-engagement locations reported high job stress, as opposed to 33% at moderate-engagement firms and 39% of those at low-engagement companies.

Engaged Workers Less Stressed by Commuting

Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index data confirms that a lengthy trek to work hampers the mood of many employees. The good news is that workers who are engaged in their work and workplace appear to be buffered from some of the effects of long commutes. The percentage of actively disengaged workers who report a lot of stress and worry in their lives without a lot of happiness and enjoyment increases from 15.5% for those with short commutes to 27.1% for those with long commutes. In contrast, engaged workers’ low worry and stress levels do not change significantly, regardless of commute time.

Behaviors that Drive Engagement

The extent to which managers provide guidance, feedback and the appropriate level of autonomy for staff is key to whether employees go the extra mile for their organization, suggests research for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). The central role of managers in boosting individual and organizational performance is well recognized, but managers need more specific, tried-and-tested guidance on what they can do on a day-to-day basis to fulfill this key role.


Want Better Revenue Growth? Engage Your Workforce! 

Research by CLC-Genesee and its parent, the Corporate Executive Board, shows that the potential outcomes of a highly engaged workforce include:

  • 3-year revenue growth of 20.1% compared to an industry average of 8.9%
  • Higher stock price over a period of 3 years compared to a sample of 500 leading companies
  • Three times higher EBITA growth as compared to industry average.


The Connection Between Engagement and Earnings

A Towers Perrin-ISR study says operating income at companies with high levels of employee engagement improved 19.2%, while low-engagement companies reported a drop of 32.7%. Net income for high-engagement companies advanced 13.2%, while the low-engagement companies saw a decline of 3.8%. High-engagement companies had EPS growth of 27.8%, while companies with low employee engagement reported an 11.2% decline.  www.towersperrin.com/tp/showdctmdoc.jsp?country=kor&url=Tillinghast/United_States/News/Emphasis/2007/03/emp_q3_art8.htm

Engagement Program Returns $2 for Every Dollar Spent

The Enterprise Engagement Alliance measured the return on investment (ROI) of an annual meeting of healthcare insurance brokers that stressed training, relationship-building and networking opportunities found the sponsoring company enjoyed a return of almost $2 for every $1 invested in the program. Parts 1 and 2 of the study, The ‘ROI in Channel Partner’ Conferences – A Case Study, can be downloaded at www.enterpriseengagement.org

Engagement Linked to Economic Recovery

A report from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance and the Human Capital Institute, The Economics of Engagement, provides a comprehensive analysis of research in the field of Enterprise Engagement and offers how-to information on benchmarking tools that can quantitatively measure the benefits of employee and customer engagement. These measurement tools are critical to demonstrate the bottom-line impact of enterprise engagement, both to corporations and to the economy as a whole, using financial language that senior executives, investors and economists are accustomed to.

Using Rewards & Recognition Results In Higher Revenues

Organizations that implement non-cash reward and recognition programs have annual revenue increases averaging of 9.6% vs. just 3% for all other companies – more than three times higher. A study by the Aberdeen Group, distributed by the IRF, underscores the importance of rewards and recognition as a vital compensation component and outlines the competitive advantage companies gain when they go outside their organization for assistance in designing and implementing such programs.

Higher Engagement Can Lead to Increased Performance, Profits

A global study by Hay Group found that while companies focused on engagement during the recession have been successful, harnessing and channeling that motivation is critical to delivering superior financial results, customer satisfaction and employee performance. The study found that despite current economic conditions, more than 75% of these organizations realized improvements in survey scores. By emphasizing employee engagement factors, these companies have been able to increase organizational commitment levels and employee satisfaction with job roles.

Engagement – The New Competitive Advantage

Engagement as the new battleground for business is the subject of a new white paper published jointly by Peppers & Rogers Group and Allegiance. Engagement: The New Competitive Advantage provides readers with an enhanced understanding of engagement, a recognition of why it is so critical today, a realization that it can be measured and managed, knowledge of what drives it, and an appreciation of its multi-faceted impact on the business.

7 Steps to Measure and Build Engagement

Many organizations successfully design questionnaires that generate high participation rates and gather a lot of good information. But where survey processes most commonly break down is in the hand off between a survey team and line managers. This Hay Group white paper offers seven recommendations for increasing the commitment and support of line managers throughout the organization to an employee engagement survey process. www.enterpriseengagement.org/direct/user/site/1/files/HAY-GROUP-INSIGHT-WHITE-PAPER.pdf

Take Action on Engagement Survey Results!

Results from BlessingWhite’s 2011 Employee Engagement Report show that companies planning an employee survey better be ready for some meaningful follow-up. If you ask for an opinion and then are seen not to act upon it, you may lose employees’ trust. The good news is that Survey + Action = More Engaged Employees. Nearly half (47%) of all employees who said their organization conducted a survey and demonstrated visible actions at the organization or department level are fully engaged. This finding was consistent across all regions and organization sizes.

Employee Engagement Critical to Business Success

A survey conducted by Mercer with over 160 members of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 78% believe employee engagement is important or extremely important to their organization in the current economic and business climate. However, only 45% of respondents report that their organization is actually attempting to measure it. The most common forms of measurement are surveys (85%), focus groups (42%) and management interviews (25%). Researchers say businesses that don’t research employee engagement often make the wrong choices concerning benefits and HR policy, and that it’s essential that leaders take employee engagement seriously.

Rewards & Recognition

Will an Incentive Program Create a More Engaged Workforce?

A recent Staples Advantage survey found one-third of office workers would be willing to put in an extra week of work each year if it meant their company would implement an incentive program. These employees would be willing to make other sacrifices if it meant their company would implement an incentive program – 30% say they would take on extra responsibilities, and more than 40% would be in favor of forgoing the annual holiday party.

10 Tips to Build Brand Values Into Recognition Programs

A large part of designing a rewards and recognition program is focused on productivity, compensation and profitability. An equal part of the strategy, however, is centered in how these initiatives tie back to the core messages that are integral to business values and brand promise. This article by Dittman Incentive Marketing highlights 10 popular brand values, how they’re supported through incentive, rewards and recognition programs, and some of the communications ideas that can help build more creative, effective, and memorable programs.

Wellness Awards Shrink Healthcare Costs

A recent study from the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) affirms the role and success of wellness incentive programs – important findings in light of the forthcoming 2014 implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s provisions that increases the potential funding of wellness incentives to equal as much as 50% of the per-worker total healthcare premium. Less than one in five employees will participate in wellness programs that don’t offer rewards. This rises to four out of five when incentives are offered.

Recognition Plays Critical Role in Organizational Success

Employee recognition programs, when used as part of a “Total Rewards” package, can dramatically improve employee engagement and job performance, as well as positively impact business results, according to research by the Human Capital Institute, the Forum for People Performance Management and Measurement, and the Incentive Research Foundation in the report, The Value and ROI in Employee Recognition: Linking Recognition to Improved Job Performance and Increased Business Value. Researchers recommend six “best principles” for developing and implementing recognition programs to heighten employee engagement, improve job performance and increase business value.

Travel Incentives Boost Performance, Retention

Results from a recently conducted analysis of one company’s long-standing use of travel awards as a motivational tool show that such incentives have a clear, measurable and positive impact on employee performance and retention. The Incentive Research Foundation conducted the study, entitled Anatomy of a Reward: The Broad Impact of Incentive Travel Programs, finding that participants tend to perform better and stay with the company longer than other employees. Overall, 88.5% of incentive travel earners had a performance level of 1 or 2, compared to 31.2% of the population of active critical employees with those same performance ratings.

Mobile Apps, Wellness, Gift Cards Head List of Incentive Trends

The Incentive Research Foundation’s executive briefing, 2012 Trends in Rewards and Recognition, reveals that businesses will be emphasizing “individualization” in their motivation programs this year. Specific trends include:

  • Personalization. Increased use of gift cards and award elements that allow employees to do their own “discounted” shopping during the redemption process.
  • Participation. Non-cash incentive programs that can increase wellness participation by 26% to 90%, returning more than $3 for every $1 invested.
  • Convenience. Integrating mobile applications into all phases of incentive program communications to keep employees connected 24/7.


External/Customer Engagement

Adding Engagement to ‘Brand Architecture’

This white paper by EGR International posits that “Brand Architecture” is an essential process in all marketing, as it provides the framework for establishing an organization’s personality and unique selling proposition. In today’s world, the most effective Brand Architecture incorporates key elements of engagement: how people directly or indirectly interface with customers; how vendors affect employees and customers; how the organization affects the community; and vice versa. These inter-connections can have profound and lasting effects on the way an organization puts its Brand Architecture into action.

Engagement and Loyalty

The Maritz white paper A New Paradigm for Loyalty Marketing: Building Loyalty Along the ‘Earn, Burn, Yearn’ Continuum notes that just as advertising has evolved to address multiple consumer segments, loyalty marketing’s approach must also adapt to multiple customer personas. Research shows that there’s much more going on in the minds of consumers these days, and marketers who expand the opportunities for consumers to interact with their brand will increase the likelihood of loyalty-driven behavior.

Examining the Engagement/Performance Equation

A recent study by Aberdeen Group surveyed 438 organizations in 2011, examining strategies, tools and processes designed to improve engagement and performance in order to understand which are the most effective. The subsequent report offers recommendations on how organizations can use these findings to improve employee retention, leadership bench strength, customer satisfaction and profitable growth. There is a charge for the full report.

Social Networking Sites Key to Engagement

More than three-quarters of students say social networking sites are key to employers engaging them, and nearly half say social media is ideal for conveying an employer brand, according to a report by TMP Worldwide and TARGETjobs. A full 80% believe organizations active on websites like Facebook and Twitter are working hard to engage their target market. However, respondents were clear that employers should not exploit social media, with 70% noting they wouldn’t want businesses using such sites to “sell” jobs.

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Spring 2012

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