Here's an example of employee engagement that provided a great return on investment. It's from the BDO Dunwoody newsletter article, Tap Into your Staff's Brainpower. It really points out the lurking potential that may exist in your staff, that if harnessed in the right way might unleash a wave of good and profitable results.
The author notes that "companies are just as susceptible to getting stuck in their ways, repeating the same business practices and not realizing that this stagnation prevents reaching full corporate potential."
One such company, having operated much the same for its entire 50 year history were encouraged to have "managers start encouraging their employees to think outside their specific jobs. In other words: Encourage them to start taking a macro look at how their jobs fit into the business structure."
Staff got engaged and ideas started coming in. One such idea actually estimated that a single suggested policy change could save the company at least $100,000 a year. That's pretty significant.
Why didn't it get mentioned before. Probably because the employee saw themselves in a box, thinking only about the one little corner of the operation that was theirs. They were never before encouraged to think bigger, to start seeing what they were doing within the larger context.
Engaged employees can be a gold mine. Never under-estimate what lies buried there.