Engaged Employees Have Lower Accident Rates and Absenteeism, Per a Recent Study

Liz Carey

Williamstown, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Manufacturers whose employees are more engaged in their jobs see fewer accidents, and less absenteeism, a new report shows.

According to the Filson Leadership Group, a review of a Gallup report showed that organizations in the top quartile of engagement have 70 percent fewer accidents, and 41 percent less absenteeism rates. Those companies also see 40 percent fewer quality incidents, nearly 60 percent lower turnover rates and 21 percent higher profitability.

Dr. ArLyne Diamond, president of President & Founder of Diamond Associates, and a workplace consultant, said when employees are more engaged, they are less likely to be distracted at work.

“When someone is engaged, their body and mind are congruent,” Diamond said in an interview with WorkersCompensation.com. “Engaged employees put their eyes where their hands are. When someone is bored or engaged in their job, their eyes and their minds are more likely to wander off.”

Engaged employees feel as though leadership in the company has their back, and wants to see them succeed, she said. When employees respect their bosses, they are more likely to work hard for them.

“Think back to when you were in school and you had a teacher you really liked,” she said. “Because you like them, you wanted to do more for them. You wanted to make them happy. The same is true for a boss. The opposite is also true. When things aren’t going well at work — you don’t get along with your boss, you have a fight with a co-worker, you don’t like your job — when you are not well emotionally, you’re not going to be as engaged in your job, and you won’t be paying as close attention to what you are doing which leads to more accidents.”

How managers handle an accident can also determine whether or not an accident turns into a workers’ compensation claim, she said.

“In the case of an accident, a minor one, not one where there is a medically treatable injury, if a manager comes to help and says ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘Can I get you a bandage or some ice?’, employees are less likely to file a workers’ compensation claim,” she said. “But, if the manager takes the side of ‘I’m playing it safe because my insurance provider told me to,’ employees are more likely to file a claim. It’s that sense that the manager has empathy. That empathy creates engagement, and reduces the chances of a claim.”

Brent Filson, the head of Filson Leadership Group, said manufacturers fail to achieve sustainable results when it comes to engagement of employees because they are not focused on closing the Engagement Gap.

“They are not focused like a laser on that determinant from which deep, lasting engagement flows: relationships. Relationships in manufacturing formed between employees and their leaders, their co-workers, and their organizations,” Filson said. “What are these relationships and what promotes and sustains them? Generally, they are fostered when people bond in motivational ways.”

According to the Gallup report, US companies lose between $440 and $550 billion per year in lost productivity and performance each year due to lack of employee engagement. Research shows though, that if companies don’t work to engage employees properly, their efforts can backfire. A third of employees report that they’re unhappy at work.

Filson said engaging a workforce comes down to leadership. Leaders, he said, understand that in order to change the safety culture at their job, they have to create an atmosphere where people want to change the safety culture.

Part of that, he said, is understanding what employees want.

“Leadership is great at recognizing what leadership needs,” Filson said. “But the first step toward making your employees engaged in changing the safety culture of an organization is recognizing what the employees need… Until you can get on their playing field you can’t get them to do what is best for them and for the business.”