Tough Decisions in a Downturn Don’t Have to Lead to Disengaged Employees

Conventional wisdom says employees are beaten down and disengaged; Hay Group Insight research shows that leading companies are actually raising engagement levels in the present economy; these organizations are increasing revenue growth by 450% and customer satisfaction by over 50% today

Jersey City, N.J. (RPRN) 8/13/2009–An engaged workforce is more important now than ever. But in the current economy organizations may feel their options are limited.

“Even while cutting costs, our research shows companies can still engage their employees through soft dollar investments made by their leaders and managers,” notes William Werhane, Hay Group Insight’s global managing director. “Our research shows that even during the downturn, companies that have focused on maintaining open and honest communication with employees, ensuring that strategic directions are clear, fostering trust and confidence in senior leaders are seeing positive returns on their investments.”

New data from Hay Group Insight reveal that companies that have remained focused on employee engagement in the current economic downturn have succeeded in maintaining and even increasing motivation levels. But harnessing and channelling that motivation is also critical to deliver superior financial results, customer satisfaction, and employee performance.

Hay Group Insight conducted a global study involving data from 41 client organizations across industries and over 1,000,000 employees worldwide, comparing the results of employee opinion surveys conducted in late 2008 or early 2009 with the results of surveys these same clients conducted prior to the downturn. Despite current economic conditions, over 75% of these organizations realized improvements in survey scores. By emphasizing employee engagement factors, these companies have been able to increase organizational commitment levels and employees’ satisfaction with their job roles. Notably, employees in these companies also show an increased willingness to contribute discretionary effort.

To position organizations for success in the downturn and beyond, however, engagement alone is not enough. “It is clear from our research,” notes Werhane, “that while many organizations are focused on employee engagement with good reason, leaders must also enable employees to channel their extra efforts productively to deliver superior results.” In an enabled workforce, employees are effectively matched to positions, such that their skills and abilities are put to optimal use. Likewise, employees have the essential resources—information, technology, tools and equipment, and financial support—to get the job done. They are able to focus on their key responsibilities without wasting time navigating such obstacles as procedural restrictions or nonessential tasks in the work environment.

Three tangible benefits of increased engagement and enablement:

  1. Business performance – Companies that engage and enable their employees outperform on both revenue growth and profitability. Organizations in the top quartile on engagement demonstrate revenue growth 2.5 times that of organizations in the bottom quartile. But companies in top quartile on both engagement and enablement achieve revenue growth 4.5 times greater. Moreover, companies in the top quartile on both engagement and enablement exceed industry averages on five-year return on assets, return on investment, and return on equity by 40 to 60 percent.
  2. Customer satisfaction – Businesses that have high levels of engagement show customer satisfaction scores 22 percent higher that companies with low levels of engagement. But companies that both engage and enable employees demonstrate a total increase in customer satisfaction of 54 percent.
  3. Employee retention – Companies with high levels of engagement show turnover rates 40% lower than companies with low levels of engagement. But companies that both engage and enable employees demonstrate a total reduction in voluntary turnover of 54%.

Highly engaged and enabled workers create dramatically better business outputs, more loyal customers, and better financial performance during good times and bad. And organizations are likely to retain these employees and sustain these results over a longer period of time.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a Hay Group Insight expert, please contact Mitch Kent, Global head of public relations for Hay Group at or +1 215 861 2315. Twitter: @hay_group

About Hay Group Insight

For over 35 years Hay Group Insight – the survey research division of Hay Group – has partnered with the world’s largest and most complex organizations to create value through the strategic use of employee survey research. Our mission is to provide deeper insight to our clients by ensuring their research programs stay ahead of the curve.

About Hay Group

Hay Group is a global management consulting firm that works with leaders to transform strategy into reality. We develop talent, organize people to be more effective and motivate them to perform at their best. Our focus is on making change happen and helping people and organizations realize their potential. Visit and on Twitter: @hay_group


Hay Group
Mitch Kent, +1-215-861-2315

Source: The Hay Group

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

More To Explore