While traveling a few weeks ago, the USA Today appeared under my door. It’s Money section cover story was Do Happy Workers Mean Higher Profits? Looking at stock prices and earnings, the evidence suggests the answer is sort of, YES. You see the real payoff is not just how happy people are, it’s how engaged they are.
As we have often heard, engaged employees tend to do a better job, work harder, put in extra hours and stay longer. When you dig a little deeper, the article cites some real evidence to support this:
- Companies on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work for tend to have significantly lower turnover. In the IT industry, which is known for frequent job moves, companies on the list have a 5.9% turnover vs. a 14.4% rate industrywide. In professional services, it’s 11.3% vs. 24.7%.
- In the past year, many of the publicly traded companies on Fortune’s list beat the S&P 500 by a mile. While the S&P was up 13%, Whole Foods rose 31%, Marriott gained 28% and AmEx was up 22%.
- While benefits and financial perks definitely have an impact on happiness and engagement, according to Julie Gebauer of Towers Watson, it’s those things without significant cost that really make a difference, “What makes the biggest impact are things that don’t have significant costs. How expensive is it for a senior leader to give an employee a pat on the back, or give someone the opportunity to work from home for a day or two?” (I’ve spoken many times about the impact meaning, autonomy, competence and the ability to make progress at work all have sustained engagement)
So, what do you think. How do happy employees impact your bottom line?