Happy Employees Seem to Increase Profits

No one has proven that happy employees lead to bigger profits, but studies show they go together a lot – locally, nationally and globally. Warning: Leave your employees disengaged at your own risk.

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Illustration: Thinkstock.com

What Leads to Engaged Employees

Every year, the Best Companies Group conducts surveys of employees at Hawaii companies to find the Best Places to Work. All employees are guaranteed anonymity so they will respond truthfully. Best Companies Group conducts dozens of similar surveys each year across the country and in three foreign countries. Based on those survey results, Best Companies found that agreement with these statements are the main factors that separate the Best Places to Work from ordinary places to work.

  • I feel I am valued at this organization.
  • I have confidence in the leadership of this organization.
  • I like the type of work that I do.
  • Overall, I’m satisfied with this organization’s benefits package.
  • I can trust what this organization tells me.
  • There is room for me to advance at this organization.
  • I understand the importance of my role to the success of this organization.
  • I like the people I work with at this organization.
  • My pay is fair for the work I perform.
  • My supervisor treats me fairly.

Great Workplaces

The Great Place to Work Institute, which compiles Fortune magazine’s annual “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” report, has spent 30 years doing research in more than 40 countries, and has discovered that “investing in a high-trust workplace culture yields distinct, tangible business benefits.

“Our studies of the 100 Best Companies show that great workplaces enjoy significantly lower turnover and better financial performance than industry peers,” says the institute. “Case studies of specific workplaces demonstrate additional, industry-specific benefits, including reduced shrinkage, improved track records on safety, higher patient satisfaction, better quality job applicants and more.”

As an example, the institute’s website cites the remarkable growth at the financial services firm Robert W. Baird & Co. – one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies To Work For – partly as a result of creating a culture of responsiveness to employees and service to clients.

Between 1994 and 2010, the firm’s revenue grew from $180 million to $847 million. It says it averages 200 applicants for every job opening, and has a turnover rate of 4.7 percent compared to an industry average of 16 percent.

Another case study cited by the institute is Scripps Health, a San Diego hospital system plagued by operating losses, high turnover, labor shortages and other problems in the early 2000s. Concerted efforts by management transformed the workplace, resulting in over $70 million in cost savings and annual profits that increased by more than 1,200 percent.

Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder, who led the turnaround, says: “If you have been your people’s advocate, have been credible and honest with them, and have trust with them, then you won’t have to lead the charge, they will be ahead of you. They will surround you and take care of and protect you.”

Nominate your company for next’s year list at hawaiibusiness.com/bptw


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Hawaii Business,April