Group of employees sitting around a table at work, representing engagement

How to set employee engagement goals that lead to business growth

How do you set employee engagement goals that lead to sustainable business growth? We’ll analyse the relationship between engagement and growth, before offering three tips on setting engagement goals.
Dom Murray, Content Writer

Employee engagement and business growth go hand in hand. After all, engaged employees are more productive and profitable. Specifically, 21% more productive and 23% more profitable.

Inversely, disengaged employees are 18% less productive and 15% less profitable. These expenses add up quickly, particularly if employees are disengaged en masse.

So, the question becomes: how do you set employee engagement goals that lead to sustainable business growth? We’ll answer this question and others, analysing the relationship between engagement and growth, before offering three tips on setting engagement goals. 

The relationship between engagement and business growth

Employee engagement and business growth are fundamentally intertwined. Without one, it’s almost impossible for the other to thrive. To demonstrate this, 71% of executives say employee engagement is critical to their company’s success. 

Pull quote with the text: 71% of executives say employee engagement is critical to their company'ss success

The state of disengagement

Unfortunately, we can’t talk about engagement without talking about disengagement. According to Gallup's 2023 State of the Workplace report, disengagement is at a 9-year high: "[2022 showed] the lowest ratio of engaged-to-actively disengaged employees in the U.S. since 2013.”

Additionally, disengagement costs the economy $8.8 trillion — 9% of global GDP. Given this, it should be concerning that just 15% of the global workforce is actively engaged — a staggeringly low figure.

Profitability and retention 

Thankfully, there’s good news too: engagement, profitability, and retention are strongly linked. By increasing engagement, you’re more likely to retain top employees and boost revenue, thereby driving business growth. 

For example, increasing engagement by just 10% can boost profits by $2,400 per employee. 

In part, this profitability boost is because businesses save on recruitment fees. On average, it costs $4,700 to hire new talent and $986 to onboard a new hire, meaning you lose almost $6,000 whenever an employee quits. These costs add up fast if you consistently lose employees due to disengagement. 

On the other hand, employees are 87% less likely to quit a job if they’re engaged. Employees are practically crying out for more engagement opportunities, as both Gen Z (71%) and Millennial (86%) workers would accept a pay cut to do more meaningful work or secure their ideal job. These statistics show salary isn’t the be-all and end-all. Rather, engagement and company culture are vital, especially for younger job-seekers. 

Increasing engagement can save you a lot long term, particularly on hiring and recruitment costs. These savings allow you to attract and retain employees, build a tight-knit team without constant hiring disruptions, and, ultimately, grow your business. 

For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our whitepaper on Employee engagement strategies to build successful L&D programs.

Setting engagement goals that lead to business growth 

Engagement is inextricably linked with business growth. Knowing this is one thing, but taking advantage of it is another. So, how do you set engagement goals that actually drive growth?

1. Align with organisational goals 

At Go1, we’re all about alignment. Remember: 94% of high-impact learning cultures say their L&D activity is fully aligned with their organisational goals. Among ‘average’ teams, this figure is less than half (49%). 

However, alignment is always worth revisiting — especially for goal-setting. Goal alignment is essential to create an engaging company culture where everyone has a sense of purpose and works towards the same outcomes.

Pull quote with the text: Goal alignment is essential to create an engaging company culture where everyone has a sense of purpose and works towards the same outcomes

Align Today elaborates, outlining the pillars of goal alignment: “Goal alignment involves the marriage of three pillars – organisational goals, team goals, and individual goals.” To break this down further: 

  • Organisational goals are the overarching objectives of your business and its stakeholders.
  • Team goals are specific objectives assigned to different departments (i.e. Marketing Goals, Sales Goals).  
  • Individual goals are assigned to each employee based on their roles within a team.

Individual goals should feed into team goals, which should feed into organisational goals. For instance, your graphic designer may have a goal of creating ten social media infographics per month. This goal feeds into one of your team goals: grow your LinkedIn following by 5%. In turn, this feeds into organisational goals of increasing brand awareness and market share. Thus, goal alignment means aligning organisational, team, and individual goals so they complement one another.

But what are the benefits? According to Gartner, when employee goals align with organisational goals, performance increases by 22%, while 75% of companies meet or exceed their revenue targets. 

Still, goal alignment is tricky. 40% of managers say failure to align is the greatest challenge to executing company goals. Further, only 51% of companies even attempt to develop aligned goals. On the bright side, just by reading this article, you already have a competitive advantage over the 49% of companies that never even try to align their goals! 

Luckily, goal alignment doesn’t have to be a headache. While the particulars will vary from team to team based on your industry, company size, and specific needs, we recommend following these basic steps: 

  • Audit your current goal-setting process to find areas of misalignment. Check out our Needs Analysis Tool for help with this step. 
  • Ask your senior executives to define clear, overarching organisational goals. All other goals should work towards these. 
  • Share your organisational goals with relevant stakeholders for feedback, then make any necessary adjustments. 
  • Once your organisational goals have been finalised, share them with the wider company. Ensure everyone receives, reads, and understands these goals. You could do this during regular departmental meetings, using this as a springboard to brainstorm team goals. 
  • Ask departmental leaders to finalise their team goals.
  • Once you have finalised your organisational & team goals, organise times for 1:1 meetings between all managers and employees. Use this time to brainstorm individual goals. 
  • Schedule follow-up meetings to finalise all individual goals. 
  • Once all goals are finalised, disseminate your organisational goals company-wide and team goals to the relevant departments. Communication is vital for alignment, ensuring everyone is informed and working towards the same outcomes. 
  • Keep clear records of all organisational, team, and individual goals to refer back to. Keeping records will help you measure the success of these goals later. 
  • Finally, refine and optimise this process by seeking employee feedback to see what you can do better next time. 

Remember, there will likely be teething problems during your first attempt. Don’t be discouraged. This is normal and the rewards are worth it!

2. Use technology! 

You’d assume that in our modern, ultra-technological age, using technology to drive and measure engagement would be standard practice. Unfortunately, you’d be incorrect. Just 16% of employers use technology to monitor employee engagement. 

This statistic represents a massive missed opportunity, showing that most businesses measure employee engagement with one hand effectively tied behind their back. Worse still, only 22% of companies understand what drives employee disengagement. This is another worryingly low figure. After all, it’s almost impossible to engage employees if you don’t understand what causes them to disengage. How can you fix a problem you don’t understand? 

Even when teams use engagement technologies, the process tends to be clunky and disruptive. Only 35% of employees were consulted when their workplace introduced new engagement technologies. Yet, when employees are consulted, 70% feel positive about the impact on their jobs. These findings provide a valuable lesson for managers about the power of communication and consulting employees.

Further, employees with access to work management software are 85% more likely to be happy. So, don’t be afraid to seek a helping hand from technology when setting and monitoring engagement goals. The benefits are immense — just remember to consult your employees!

3. Communicate! 

Finally, communication is vital to setting engagement goals, as effective internal communications motivate 85% of employees to engage

Naturally, this impacts productivity. Improved internal communication can boost organisational productivity by 25%. Therefore, to boost engagement, communicate with your employees clearly, openly, and often. 

Pull quote with the text: To boost engagement, communicate with your employees clearly, openly, and often.

Of course, it’s rarely that simple. 74% of employees believe they’re missing out on workplace news and information, which 86% blame on poor communication. 

The CIPD explains that workplace communication is crucial but rarely as effective as possible, stating: “Many employees feel they receive limited or very little information and there are challenges to effective communication at all levels of the organisation.” These findings paint a damning picture of the state of internal workplace communications, leaving employees largely uninformed. Under these circumstances, it’s no wonder many employees disengage.

More specifically, The Institute of Internal Communications (ICOC) identified five topics that negatively impact engagement when communication is unsatisfactory. These are: 

  1. Career & personal development opportunities (38% of employees receive too little communication on this topic) 
  2. Organisational strategy & direction (33% of employees receive too little communication on this topic) 
  3. Guidance to help me do my job (33% of employees receive too little communication on this topic) 
  4. Wellbeing information (30% of employees receive too little communication on this topic)  
  5. Organisational values & culture (20% of employees receive too little communication on this topic) 

As a result, ICOC reached a simple conclusion: “Engagement is higher when communications are clear.” Organisations must remember this advice when setting engagement goals. More broadly, extra communication is always beneficial to engage employees —  in this case, you can’t have too much of a good thing!  

Ready to start boosting engagement? Download our whitepaper, Employee engagement strategies to build successful L&D programs, to get started! Or, you can book a demo to find out how Go1 can help with your team’s learning needs.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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