How to get to the moon

Guest post by Kirill Nadysev, Saba Software.

There is a legend that, when asked what he was doing, an engaged janitorial employee at NASA replied “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon”. This is a simple illustration of employee engagement. But, according to Saba’s recent survey on the subject, it’s probably more than 28% of business leaders could give you as a useful reference on the subject. That’s the number of businesses that say they don’t focus on engagement because they don’t know where to start or there is a lack of buy-in from senior management.

The good news is that 78% of organisations are running at least some form of employee engagement activities, usually in the form of an employee satisfaction survey. Though that must be less of a surprise. Presumably nobody wants disengaged employees after all. And it seems unlikely, were it to crop up in a board room, that some a proposal supporting employee engagement would get voted down – as long as it doesn’t cost too much. But it seems that what holds employee engagement back is that business still really fails to grasp what the clear benefits are. That’s a shame because the survey also says that organisations are 50% more satisfied with employee engagement activities when senior management really do understand these issues.

Yet the business benefits are both tangible and even instinctively obvious. That said, it is more difficult to recognise their contribution on the financial bottom line. What is clear is that they will only really be clearly identified through a proper engagement plan and recognisable business case, something only 34% of our organisations surveyed manage to do.

The NASA janitor was, of course, quiet right. He did play a part in putting a man on the moon. He had a clear understanding of that. Too often, it seems it is the senior management that fail to grasp what part that is. If organisations are to reap the genuine benefits of better engagement, it is up to them to create those opportunities.

Check out Saba’s latest infographic explaining the Employee Engagement survey here.