Laura Quiambao is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Wrike with a passion for using stories to share helpful tips, best practices, and insights. When she's not writing, you'll find her voice-over acting, rock climbing, disc golfing, travelling, and cooking with her husband.
Employee engagement is a hot topic for business leaders around the globe — and for good reason. Studies show that companies with engaged employees realize greater productivity and higher profits than those with less-engaged workers.
For example, Gallup reports that teams with high employee engagement have better customer engagement, greater productivity, better retention, and 21% higher profitability. On the flip side, Gallup also reported that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 to $550 billion per year in lost productivity.
The key word here seems to be productivity:
Engage employees = More productive
Disengaged employees = Less productive
But is that equation truly so simple? MediaValet partner, Wrike, a Collaborative Work Management solution, sought to better understand the connection between employee engagement and productivity. Wrike’s survey revealed a more complex relationship. As you create or execute your employee engagement strategy, consider these insights to ensure your programs increase productivity too.
The Gap Between Employee Engagement and Productivity
Wrike’s survey of 5,000+ adults in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia, who work full time for an organization with more than 500 employees. The top question for respondents was: How engaged are you at your current company?
Shockingly, 91% reported that they were engaged at work to some degree. This is particularly surprising when compared to Gallup’s 2018 survey of employee engagement reported a rate of 34% engagement.
However, their report said that 13% of employees felt disengaged, which is in the ballpark of Wrike’s 9% figure. And Wrike’s report had 40% of respondents reporting they were “very engaged” so there could be a slight gap in how the questions were posed and reported on. It’s also important to note that in Wrike’s survey, 65% of respondents were in leadership positions, and research has shown that managers tend to be more engaged than individual contributors.
Even if we only look at the 40% of “very engaged” employees, that’s still almost half your workforce that is personally commitment an employee has to their organization’s goals and overall success. It’s the amount of passion they have for their work and their willingness to put forth effort.
So this highly engaged cohort must also be incredibly productive, right? Think again.
The Relationship Between Engagement and Productivity
According to the survey, only 18% of employees reported being productive 90% of the time or more. Almost half (48%) of the employees surveyed said they were productive less than 75% of the time. That’s at least a quarter of their time that could be better utilized.
Disengaged employees did report being less productive and were 80% more likely to say they were productive less than 75% of the time. In fact, almost 1 in 5 (19%) of disengaged or very disengaged employees were productive less than 10% of the time, compared to 19% of engaged or very engaged employees who were productive more than 90% of the time. So there is a correlation between engagement and productivity.
However, why are engaged employees reporting lower than expected productivity? Consider this scenario. You’re an engaged employee. You come to work, get involved with interoffice activities, believe in and enjoy your work, collaborate well with your colleagues and boss, and speak up in meetings. However, you’re still productive less than 75% of the time. Where is the disconnect?
Let’s ask the respondents.
Which of the following tools or capabilities would help you be more engaged and productive at work? (Choose 3)
Engaged employees were 33% more likely than disengaged employees to say they had the tools, resources, and support needed to work effectively. This indicated a strong connection between enablement and happiness in the workplace. Could it be that the secret to employee engagement that manifests productivity is in the tools you provide your employees?
Let’s look at the top 3 reported capabilities or tools respondents said would help them become more engaged and productive.
The 3 capabilities your employees need to be engaged and productive
1. Access work at any time and work effectively anywhere
It’s not surprising that mobile access was the top capability. Over half (51%) of Wrike’s respondents said they worked remotely to some degree. Mobile access also seemed to improve engagement. Employees who had the flexibility to work remotely were 73% more likely to say they were engaged.
Today, businesses and workers are constantly collaborating across regions. As your company grows, you need a tool that can centralize project and work management so team members who aren’t colocated can work together seamlessly.
In order to streamline that communication and insurance, everyone is on the page teams need tools that can both centralize aspects of work and integrate seamlessly with one another. For example, a collaborative work management solution and DAM enable teams to work from a single system and centralized knowledge while also centralizing key assets. Everyone can access the most up-to-date project information and assets at the same time without having to dig through emails, files, or siloed folders — streamlining all creative processes and external requests.
2. Automation for repetitive and mundane tasks
In Wrike’s professional services industry survey, 3 in 10 of those surveyed said they could achieve 30-39% more meaningful work if the repetitive, administrative parts of their job were automated.
A collaborative work management solution can automate manual project tasks so employees can spend less time on tedious work and more time doing what they enjoy. It can automatically reschedule tasks connected to one another, alert project members of status changes, use project templates to automate project planning, and so much more.
A DAM helps automate the entire process of digging around to find the most up to date assets. One study found that employees wasted 21.8 hours per week looking for documents and project information. That’s 54.5% of a 40-hour workweek. With a DAM, a centralized library of up to date assets, you give employees back that time and empower them to do more impactful work.
3. A way for a manager to see everything on their plate
Employees are a business's most valuable resource. In the survey, the top reason employees said they felt disengaged was because their work was undervalued or unrecognized. Between corporate fire drills, ad hoc requests, and unexpected project speed bumps, it’s challenging for managers to gain insight into their employees’ workloads and value the work their team is doing.
A collaborative work management solution gives leaders a clear view of their team’s real-time workload. Intuitive capabilities like drag-and-drop rescheduling empower leaders to balance workloads. They can easily see who is overloaded and where work can be shifted to increase productivity. Meanwhile, reporting on project metrics helps them continue to refine and improve workload distribution.
Better together, MediaValet and Wrike power productivity
Despite the fact that studies have shown the connection between employee engagement and productivity, many leaders still don’t know how to strategically bridge the gap. In fact, one study from Dale Carnegie reveals that only about 25% of business leaders have an employee engagement strategy.
For teams looking to access files or work from anywhere, automate administrative work, and provide visibility to leaders Wrike and MediaValet can help! Wrike is a work management solution that connects directly to MediaValet’s central library of assets. Team members can easily manage, collaborate on, and distribute assets. Having everything in one place makes it easier for teams to collaborate, innovate, and push projects forward.
Wrike and MediaValet partner to help teams save time, increase brand consistency, and maximize the impact of their marketing assets.
Want more insights to help you maximize productivity and engagement for your team? Read Wrike’s full survey report here.