For the last two decades, employers focused on measuring employee engagement as the primary means to determine workforce commitment and productivity. This made sense given the numerous studies correlating high employee engagement and performance, but what happens when employee engagement goes beyond what is expected? What happens when employees are engaged through the night and on weekends? What happens when employee engagement leads to employee burnout?
In response to the aforementioned questions and an engagement study conducted by Towers Watson, employers are shifting their focus from “engaged” employees to “sustainably engaged” employees. The study, which included 32,000 employees in 29 markets around the world, found that high engagement as it has traditionally been defined is no longer sufficient to fuel the highest levels of performance. Companies with the highest profit margins had sustainably engaged employees who felt their companies energized them by promoting their physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.
A couple unique statistics from the study that support sustainably engaged employees:
- The top two drivers of performance were possessing leaders who sincerely cared about employee wellbeing and organizations with manageable stress and workloads
- Companies in which employees reported feeling well taken care of had twice the operating margins as organizations with traditionally engaged employees and three times the operating profit of organizations with the least engaged employees
The study goes into deeper detail of what in entails to promote sustainable engagement, and it is clear that employee health and wellbeing are critical to achieving this goal. There are a number of ways to promote wellness in a company. We find it’s most important to treat employees as consumers and let them embrace technologies that will empower them to live healthier lives on their own terms. For some it is tracking steps with a familiar device and for others it is eating balanced meals and getting more sleep. The consumer health and wellness ecosystem has something for everyone and employers should leverage them in their workforce to create sustainable engagement and drive success in their business.