According to Gallup, 85% of the world’s workforce aren’t engaged in the work they do. Given that we spend around a third of our lives at work, this is a global happiness crisis that impacts our lives far beyond the office – causing workaholism, stress, insomnia, loss of sense of humour and perhaps not surprisingly, divorce.
Beyond the human cost, the effect on business performance – and therefore the bottom line – is also significant. In the US alone, actively disengaged employees cost businesses around $500 billion a year. Put simply, it’s slowing down economic growth.
On the flip side…
…Gallup found that businesses with engaged employees are 17% more productive and a staggering 21% more profitable. Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their less engaged counterparts, which is important because in the US alone, employee turnover costs companies $11 billion USD a year.
Richard Branson famously revealed that his customers don’t come first, his employees do. Because he understands the impact his employees have on the success of his business. So, there’s a clear business case to engaging employees in the work that they do.
By using an authentic, long-running story in which employees are engaged as both character and audience. Margaret King, director of the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis, Philadelphia, attributes engagement to the importance of meaningful work. “People need other things besides the money the organization gives them”, she says. “They need opportunity, and feeling like they’re part of something with meaning. People value being valued”.
A cornerstone of the human experience
Big stories are the most powerful way to engage people in what your business is for – and where it’s going. A long-running company story provides employees with something beyond just numbers and facts. It gives meaning and connection, making them a character in the company’s story and not just a bystander. They essentially become an integral part of a book they cannot put down.
The science of story is well documented. It changes the brain’s chemistry, priming an audience to feel connected to what’s happening and why. It creates a unique kind of trust and empathy that alters their behaviour over time. We love good characters long after the story has finished and the constant tension between challenge and resolution means that we can’t put a good book down.
Story is a crucial fix to the engagement crisis – and arguably the most cost effective. But to really work, it needs to be done well. And done well by story specialists who understand the science of extraordinary narrative and about bringing people on a journey to a new, promised land.
At Write the Talk we’ve mastered the science and craft of long-running narratives that change how people feel and behave, for the long term.
Want to solve your engagement crisis? Get in touch.