Highly Engaged Employees Help Themselves and Employers

February 18, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Both employers and employees have a lot to gain by having an engaged workforce since engaged workers are healthier and have a better sense of well-being, according to new research.

A news release from Hewitt Associates in Canada said half of employees at highly engaged organizations felt they were taking full advantage of their employer’s retirement/savings plan – 10% higher than at moderate and low-engagement organizations.

Hewitt said that, when asked whether they were comfortable with their level of retirement savings investment risk, 56% of employees at high-engagement employers answered yes. Some 22% of employees at high-engagement organizations said they did not know whether they were comfortable with taking on that investment risk.

Less than half of employees, regardless of engagement level, said they were saving enough to get the things they want within the next five years, or that they were currently saving enough for retirement. “This data suggests that organizations may want to beef up employee education efforts around retirement income adequacy, particularly given current market volatility,” said Neil Crawford, leader of Hewitt’s Best Employers in Canada study, in the news release.

Engaged Workers Help Achieve Corporate Success

Generally, Hewitt said, highly-engaged employees speak positively of their employer, want to remain with the organization, and are willing to do all they can to help achieve corporate success.

According to Hewitt, 56% of employees at high-engagement organizations reported being in good physical health, but that number dropped to 47% at moderate-engagement employers and 41% at low-engagement organizations. With respect to job stress, 28% of employees at high-engagement employers reported experiencing high stress, while 33% and 39% did so, respectively, at organizations with moderate and low engagement.

Hewitt said while 15% of employees at high-engagement employers indicated they were very overloaded with work, the comparable statistics were 19% for those with moderate engagement and 22% at low-engagement organizations.

“The 115,000 employees surveyed as part of the 2009 study clearly revealed that high engagement goes hand-in-hand with better health and well-being,” said Crawford. “Employees at organizations with high engagement reported better physical health, lower job stress and work overload, and greater financial security. In addition, they also believe that their employer’s benefits plan contributes to their overall well-being, although there is room for improvement with respect to retirement savings programs.”

In addition to good health, highly engaged employees enjoy a greater sense of financial well-being in terms of debt management. Almost three-quarters of those working at high-engagement employers stated they were comfortable with how they were managing their debt; that figure dropped by 10% at low-engagement organizations to 64%.