In 2014, a Society of Human Resource Management study found that employees in the United States remain only moderately tuned in at work. Gallup took this a step further, reporting that we’re in the midst of an “employee engagement crisis.” In June 2013, Gallup had estimated that “actively disengaged” employees cost the United States $450 to $550 billion per year in lost productivity in its report, “How to Tackle U.S. Employees’ Stagnating Engagement.”
How can companies combat this problem and boost workforce engagement? Mark
Royal, a consultant at the management consulting firm Hay Group, says that engagement tends to be deeper among employees who feel that they have opportunities for growth and development. “The problem for organizations is that demand for such opportunities frequently outpaces the available supply,” he says.
By partnering with arts organizations, companies can provide employees with innovative opportunities for growth and development, which can in turn have positive effects on engagement, morale, retention, and performance.
In our new essay in the pARTnership Movement essay series, we explore how the Arts & Science Council's Cultural Leadership Training (CLT) Program in Charlotte and the Center of Creative Arts' COCAbiz program in St. Louis helps business employees learn how to serve on boards, develop leadership, and communications skills, and enhance creativity and collaboration. The programs also help businesses determine the leadership potential of their employees based on their interest in participating in these training programs.
“People become experts at their jobs by doing the same thing many times. But repetition
can lead people to get stuck in a cognitive rut where it becomes hard to see new
perspectives,” explains Steve Knight, Director of COCAbiz. “We use artistic experiences as a way to help people escape from those mental ruts and rise above their normal routines to find new solutions and opportunities.”
“Our company has a lot of scientists, so we were not sure whether an arts-based
development program would be a good fit,” admits Anne Schuchardt, Leadership Development Project Manager for the multinational agricultural company Monsanto. “It turned out that innovation and experimentation which underpin the arts are also really important for scientists. As a result, our employees have jumped in and embraced the artistic lessons that COCAbiz delivers.”
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Have you used the arts to train and engage your business's employees? We want to hear from you. Share you story on Twitter with @Americans4Arts using #ArtsandBiz or email us at pARTnership@artsusa.org.
Photos: Courtesy of the Center of Creative Arts.