If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of employee engagement, it’s time you got up to speed. Because whether you’re running a huge corporation or you’re an entrepreneur with a minimal office staff of three or four, employee engagement happens to be a huge deal when it comes to optimizing the internal operation of your company.

Employee engagement has been one of the most researched business issues in recent years. The results of those studies show that high engagement invariably shows up as a big business plus.

Here are a couple of the most significant benefits, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, which studied companies over a two-year period:

•    Engaged workers are the lifeblood of their organizations.

The top 25% of engaged companies Gallup studied have significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer ratings, less turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents than those in the bottom 25%.

Those businesses with more engaged workers also experienced 147% higher earnings per share (EPS) compared with their competition in 2011-2012. On the other hand, active disengagement costs the U.S.

$450 billion to $550 billion per year.

  • Engagement drives higher performance more than any company policies or

Engaged employees work hard and are more likely to put in extra hours. Engagement also has a higher impact on an employee’s well- being than any company benefits.

Gallup isn’t alone with their engagement conclusions. Accenture, the world’s largest consulting firm, also found through their research that:

  • Less than 50% of CFOs understand the enormous ROI (Return on Investment) when it comes to funding initiatives designed to increase employee engagement.
  • Organizations that invested just another 10% into engagement initiatives would increase profits by $2400 per employee.

So what do missions have to do with employee engagement, you might be asking by now. Don’t people just want more money? Isn’t that all you need to do to increase engagement?

Well, that’s always the go-to answer, but it turns out not to be true. Engagement does not result simply from increasing salaries. The truth is 89% of employers believe workers leave to make more money, when in reality…only 12% of employees leave for that reason!

There’s no question that people appreciate being paid at a fair rate and that does contribute to a certain satisfaction level. BUT…positive engagement actually trumps money in most employees’ minds – and that’s a fact most business people are completely oblivious about. So yes, you want to have employee engagement in your organization. But the next question is – how do you get it? What’s the biggest proven driver of employee engagement?

Well, according to research generated by the Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, it’s Inspiration and Values.” And where do inspiration and values spring from? From our experience, they’re both generated directly by a company’s mission.

Of course, Inspiration and Values don’t do the job alone. But research also shows that, without them, none of the other employee engagement drivers do the job at all! Although the Hay Group named a total 6 elements necessary to engagement1, they found that “Inspiration and Values” was the most critical component.

The mammoth impact of a galvanizing mission on even the lowest- ranked employee is best illustrated by what is perhaps an apocryphal anecdote, but nevertheless, a revealing one. Supposedly, in the 60’s, a janitor at NASA was asked what he was doing. His reply? “Helping to put a man on the moon.”

And by the way, missions don’t just help workers do their jobs better

  • if you’re running your own business or in a management position, missions also help YOU do your job

Deloitte, a national business consulting firm with 65,000 employees, studied how missions positively affect organizations. One of the most important ways missions do that is by giving business leaders confidence.

Most of you are aware of the power of positive thinking: if you believe it, you can usually do it. Conversely, if you lack that kind of confidence, you more frequently fail.

Missions can be invaluable in providing that kind of confidence. When your company is Mission-Driven, you are working towards a purpose you truly believe in and commit to – you, in effect, have a road map in place that you can follow to take your business to your desired destination. Without that mission? Well, you’re engaged in only a day- to-day grind, with no ultimate aim in mind (except perhaps to earn a profit). It’s hard to feel confident when you have no real direction in what you’re doing.

To be Zen about it, if you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?

It’s easy to see how an organization without a mission can end up as an organization that seems to lack leadership. Just look at the situation through your own viewpoint; when, as an individual, you feel you have purpose and something driving you forward in your life and/or work, we’re willing to bet you feel more excited, more directed and better able to realize meaningful results. But when you don’t…. you probably feel a little lost, unmotivated and maybe even unproductive.

A business is no different. A mission declares the difference it wants to make in the world and what it stands for. Again, whether that mission is a pro-social charitable one or one that involves a unique way the company approaches its products and services, it still creates a definition that hopefully connects both with the external public and your internal workforce.

When it comes to getting the nuts and bolts of your business operation just right…when it comes to inspiring both your own people as well as your customers…when it comes to keeping an organization on the same specific track…nothing beats a mission. All available research confirms the very real and very lasting business advantages for any company that chooses to commit to one.

About the Author

Nick Nanton

An Emmy® award-winning Director and Producer, Nick Nanton, Esq., produces media for top ThoughtLeaders® around the world. A leading expert on branding and storytelling, Nick has authored more than two dozen Best-Selling books (including the Wall Street Journal Best-Seller StorySelling™) and earned 22 Emmy® awards. Nick speaks to audiences internationally on the topics of branding, entertainment, media, business and storytelling. To learn more about how Nick can help your brand visit www.celebritybrandingagency.com.