The Business Impact of Leaders Who Recognize

Employee engagement has been an increasing focus for many executives in recent years, and current global circumstances have placed increased emphasis on the topic as much of the workforce shifts to remote work. Why does engagement matter? What part do leaders play in getting their people engaged? How does this ultimately affect the bottom line? Come with us as we answer these questions on the road to discovering the business impact of leaders who recognize often.

So, the question "why does engagement matter?" has been asked in many different ways, and it deserves an answer. Who wouldn't want to reduce the number of people in their organization who are kicking their heels up, eating donuts on the company dime? Before we discuss this though, you may want to sit down:

Only 30% of the workforce is engaged in their work.1
Disengaged employees are costing the U.S. economy $550 billion.2
Engaged employees are 17%-26% more productive.3
A 17% boost in productivity would save $93 billion.2

$93 billion!? Just think of how many donuts
that could buy!

Engaged people are happy, productive people, and they are the foundation of every company. Engaged workers produce better quality work, on time, and are more innovative. However, as stated, only about 30% of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work. That means 70% of the workforce (some reports have this number as high as 85%)4 are disengaged. With the pandemic wreaking havoc across the global economy, it’s not hard to imagine the number of disengaged employees being on the high side of that number—and rising.

Leaders Directly Influence Employee Engagement

For many leaders, moving employee engagement in the right direction can be a challenge. As with many things in any organization, improving engagement comes from the top. According to Gallup, leaders have an incredible impact on helping employees engage in their work, with nearly 2/3 of the variance in employee engagement cores across organizations being influenced directly by leaders.5

That’s a fancy way to say that leaders have a more powerful impact on the engagement of employees within your company than almost anything. With good leadership, employee engagement can become a potent source of strength rather than an
insidious cause for worry—and we could all use a little less worry these days.

How exactly do leaders influence engagement? By clearly and regularly communicating how much their employees are valued—and there’s no better way to communicate that value than through recognition. One study found that 63% of respondents were less likely to look for a new job if they were recognized regularly.6

Think about it for a second: do engaged employees look for new jobs? Nope. Recognition conveys value, and it can be as simple as saying “Hey, good job on that project. You worked hard and did a spectacular job.” And guess what? Such a statement of encouragement means the most coming from a leader. Recognition and encouragement from management conveys value to the recipient in powerful ways. It’s saying “I see you, and see the work you’ve been doing, and it’s been great. You have my trust, and the trust of the company.”