Summary: Employee engagement is very important for an organization's success.
Key Take Aways:
- Employee engagement is tied directly to each worker's personal values.
- Hiring employees whose personal values overlap with those of the organization generally results in employee engagement.
- Unengaged and disengaged workers cost the American economy hundreds of billions each year in lost productivity.
In the FAQs section of the Delivering Happiness website, Tony Hsieh explained a core component of the Zappos approach to company culture:
Q: What do you believe is the best way to have employees live their organization’s core values?
A: The easiest way is to simply hire employees whose personal values already match the organization’s core values. Then you don’t have to train them to live a different set of values.
Engaged employees tend to be more productive, care more, be happier and give better customer service. Any business person knows customer service is a core function, and that without it operating well, an organization will probably not thrive. So what is employee engagement? This seems to be a clear definition: "Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, resulting in the use of discretionary effort." (Source: Forbes)
Unengaged employees have been estimated to cost over $300 billion dollars in
lost productivity each year in the American economy. The reason this number
is so high is the fact a large percentage of American workers might be unengaged or disengaged. The distinction lies in the degree of worker attentiveness. Unengaged workers may have sort of a neutral effect on an organization, meaning they do their work, but not enthusiastically and not proactively. Truly disengaged workers may be unproductive and have a negative impact by complaining and not participating in a team environment well.
In his book, Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh wrote about paying disengaged
employees $2,000 to quit Zappos, because it was more cost-effective to do that than allow them to continue damaging the company. In the same FAQs section mentioned above, Hsieh explained bad hiring decisions cost Zappos about $100 million dollars.
A recent article on a human resources site explained the connection between
employee engagement and values succinctly, "... our personal values are fundamental to who we are as individuals and the things we do. We operate at our best when we work for organizations that have the same values. That sense of “working at our best” is the essence of employee engagement."