At one time or another, most of us have heard a friend or colleague complain that their heart just isn’t in their work anymore. Their motivation has plummeted. Their work environment is uninspiring. Perhaps you have even felt that way yourself, – a victim to that nagging feeling that the product of your labor just doesn’t seem as meaningful as it used to be.
Most of us have felt that way at one time or another during our careers. It often correlates to periods of stress or burnout, but it can also frequently happen when an employee is struggling to find deeper meaning in their work. Very often it’s the product of a workplace culture that fails to meet that fundamental need for meaning. People naturally want to spend their time doing things that matter. They want to know that their work is appreciated, and that they are making a real difference in the world.
It’s simple: when employees are fully engaged, they are more productive. When they feel disconnected from meaningful work, in contrast, most people find it difficult to give 100%. They are less likely to go the extra mile, less likely to work late on important projects, and more likely to allow details to slip through the cracks.
A culture of quality correlates closely with that deeper sense of meaning and value that employees are seeking. Granted, the primary reasons that quality programs exist tend to be more tangible and fundamental, – things like customer satisfaction, safety & compliance, and bottom-line profitability. Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine environment in which quality thrives; without also envisioning a happy, healthy, and engaged workforce.
Benefits of Employee Engagement
High levels of employee engagement might be harder to measure; but they certainly impact the bottom line in a positive way. Here’s how:
Higher productivity: A 2018 study by Gallup indicated that highly engaged teams have a 17% higher rate of productivity than poorly motivated ones. When an organization shares a common commitment to quality, employees are more likely to bring innovative new ideas to the table in an effort to support continuous improvement. They are also more likely to go the extra mile, diligently looking after details, addressing issues proactively, and staying late to get the job done when necessary.
The authors of the Gallup study decried the fact that many managers simply don’t understand how to meet the engagement needs of the teams that report to them. In fact, quality is a great place to start. After all, there is tremendous power in challenging a group of workers to meet high standards, – to view themselves and their peers as high performers who are part of something bigger than themselves.
Lower absenteeism and lower turnover: The average American spends about a third of their waking hours on the job. It’s not surprising that poorly motivated employees are more likely to take unscheduled time off than their more highly motivated counterparts. The same Gallup study cited earlier showed that highly engaged teams enjoy a 41% lower rate of absenteeism than poorly motivated groups. Considering the costs and logistical challenges created when workers fail to show up; that has a direct impact on profitability and effectiveness.
Teams with a strong culture of quality also experience lower rates of turnover. The cost of hiring and training new employees can be steep, with many estimates ranging from 1.5 to 2 times an employee’s annual salary. Keeping your current employees happy is a winning strategy. A positive culture of quality can be a key ingredient in achieving that goal.
A far superior safety record: Here’s an even better reason for companies to engage their employees more fully; motivated teams experience a whopping 70% fewer safety incidents than their less engaged counterparts. Clearly there are financial benefits in this case as well, stemming from lower absenteeism and lower liability costs including insurance, workers’ compensation, and legal fees. But the benefits to employee safety and quality of life go far beyond that, ensuring that your organization does everything it can to mitigate the potential human costs of workplace incidents. Quality programs are inextricably connected with health and safety, and can be a good starting point for nascent quality initiatives.
As we’ve noted before, building a culture of quality isn’t easy, and it takes time; but the benefits are worth it. Companies with a strong culture of quality are more profitable, with greater customer satisfaction and employee loyalty.
If you’re striving to build a culture of quality in your organization, contact us. We’d love to share what we’re doing with Intellect QMS 4.0 and the Intellect Platform. Were helping companies like yours to make quality an integral part of everything they do.