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September 15, 2023
Liz Hayes

How Strong Employee Engagement Can Drive Profitability

Did you know that if your employees aren’t engaged, it could affect your profitability by up to 15%? While there’s currently a lot of talk around the importance of engagement, the direct correlation between high employee engagement and profit is often misunderstood in businesses.  
According to Gallup’s 2023 ‘State of Work’ report, the majority of the world’s employees are still quiet quitting. The report calculated that low engagement costs a whopping 8.8 trillion dollars globally – that’s 9% of the global GDP.  
In the current economic environment, it’s a good reminder that engagement is more than a buzzword; it’s a strategic imperative. As winners of the AFRs Best Places to Work in Media and Marketing, we know what it takes to boost team engagement and ultimately your bottom line.  


Let’s start with the cold, hard facts. According to the report, only 23% of Australian and New Zealand workers are actively engaged in their roles, leaving 76% disengaged. According to previous Gallup research, a disengaged employee costs the business 34% of their annual salary.  
While we’re on the subject of disengagement, there’s no getting around attrition – if one of your disengaged employees decides to move on from your business, the cost of replacing them can cost up to two times their annual salary.  
It turns out that one of the most cost-effective things you can do, is invest in the employee experience of your team.  


There’s a misconception around what engagement actually is. It’s not just about mental health in the workplace or about growth opportunities. Yes, these are both hugely important but focussing on just one or two points won’t stem the tide of disengagement. You need to embrace the bigger picture.  
Engagement is how your team connects intellectually and emotionally to their work, their colleagues and to your business. Feelings can be tricky to quantify, so the best way to turn dissatisfaction into data is to focus on eight key areas: purpose, growth, empowerment, belonging, recognition, leadership, wellbeing, and fairness.  


Purpose – Do your team understand the company brand and purpose? Do they know how their role feeds into this purpose? Is the purpose aligned with their strengths, passions, and morals? 
Growth – Is learning and development encouraged and do your team feel enough challenge in their roles?  
Empowerment – Do your staff have autonomy to set their own goals, manage their time and ask for the tools needed to do their jobs to the best of their ability?  
Belonging – Is there an environment of mutual respect in your workplace and how do you foster diversity and equality?  
Recognition – When targets are met, are rewards or praise given and how do you celebrate your team wins and good collaboration?  
Leadership – Do people in your company feel safe to approach leaders, ask questions, take calculated risks, and make mistakes?  
Wellbeing – How do you support your team’s wellbeing? Is work/life balance prioritised and demonstrated by leaders? What flexibility do you offer?  
When your team are disengaged, we can classify them as either disengaged (quiet quitting) or actively disengaged (loud quitting). Both can have a negative effect on productivity and profits but also the quality of your work environment. One loudly unhappy detractor can have a huge knock-on effect when it comes to the engagement of your other employees. 


If this is your first foray into engagement, the best place to start is with an anonymous survey so you can benchmark your team’s engagement scores. Think of it like a conversation starter that will open the lines of communication to help you understand what you’re doing well and the opportunities for improvement.
Like all plans, the more targeted your engagement plan is, the more effective it will be. And even if you create the best engagement strategy out there, this is not a ‘one and done’ job. Engagement is an ongoing response to changes in the environment, both inside and outside your office. Although it can feel confronting at times, the long-term benefits to your company culture, industry reputation and profit margins will outweigh the challenges.


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