Recognise This: If employee engagement isn’t a board-level concern, it’s not really an important initiative.

Many say the follow-through is the most important part of the golf swing. The same is true in critical corporate initiatives.

Continuing our look at the key findings of the Economist Intelligence Unit/HayGroup study on employee engagement views from the boardroom, consider this question: If engagement isn’t a board-level concern, is it really an important initiative in the company?

In our book Winning with a Culture of Recognition, we address this quite clearly. “Securing executive sponsorship” is one of our five tenets of Strategic Recognition, and “Start the Tempo at the Top” is one of the 10 tactics underpinning those five tenets. If your executive team does not believe employee engagement is a problem to be solved, or at the very least, a desirable area to invest time, measurement and efforts at continual improvement, then there is little hope of success.

A key conclusion of the Economist study is:

    “A significant mismatch exists between words and deeds on engagement. There are clear inconsistencies in our survey findings, which suggest that words come more easily than concrete actions. For example, 84% of survey respondents say that ‘disengaged employees’ are one of the three biggest threats facing their business. Yet it appears that little is done to identify, support or even ‘weed out’ unengaged staff. For example, only 12% of respondents report that their companies ‘regularly and often’ tackle staff with ‘continually low engagement’. Even according to C-suite executives alone, engagement is discussed ‘occasionally’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ at board level in 43% of companies.”

Only 12% tackle those with continual low engagement? Barely more than half address engagement at the board level? How can you claim that disengagement is “one of the three biggest threats” if you don’t invest the energy and focus at the most senior level?

Keep in mind the causation found by Gallup – engaged employees generate financial success, not the other way around. I’d think company boards would be quite interested in any *guaranteed* means of generating financial success, wouldn’t you?

Links to all posts on Economist Intelligence Unit/HayGroup study:
Part 1: C-Suite Blind to Reality of Employee Engagement