The way we’re working isn’t working.

Some 33 percent of leaders across the country at companies of more than 100 employees are looking for another job right now. That’s one-third of all your leaders who have one foot out the door. Our workforce is falling prey to feeling undervalued and overworked.

If company’s want to be successful in today’s business landscape, we need more from our employees – more imagination, more drive, more innovation. But how do we get employees who’ve been creating good work to do more and offer great work? How do we get more without spending more? And how do we make sure our workers feel like they’re making a difference on the company mission?

We engage our employees

Employees who feel connected to their workplace are more innovative and productive. They want to do great work because they’re proud of what they do, and who they’re doing it with. Business and engagement strategies are intimately connected, and both are essential for corporate success. The best companies build and sustain a culture of engagement. They’re led by CEOs who understand employee engagement isn’t just a “nice to have,” but it’s the foundation to company prosperity.

Unfortunately, though, the term “engagement” has lost some of its allure lately, showing up in conversations with HR, customer success, marketing, IT, UX and even UI. It’s falling into another space on your corporate Buzzword Bingo card.

But that doesn’t negate its importance. Employee engagement creates a team who is willing to put in the extra effort and go above the call of duty, all for the common goal to create positive change in the world (and in your bottom line).

And, financial impact aside, most of us spend more than 40 hours in the office every week. We’re spending the strong majority of our waking hours at work. Shouldn’t we try to make our time there as positive as possible?

Still, the root of the prosaic work culture isn’t just a lack of effort. Rather, too many leaders aren’t even making employee engagement a priority. While 90 percent of leaders realize an employee engagement strategy impacts their bottom line, a slim 25 percent actually create one, according to Accor Services.

Engagement drives your bottom line

A study by Gallup reported active disengagement costs North America somewhere between $450 and $550 billion per year. Did ya get that? Billion. And with about 70 percent of the population not engaged at work, that’s a real threat to your bottom line.

Companies with high levels of engagement see a 19 percent boost in operating income, while companies with low engagement decline by 33 percent. To really drive the point home, companies with at least 4 engaged employees to every disengaged worker see around 2.6 times more growth in earnings per share.

And, low levels of engagement can lead to increased absenteeism, which can cost about $3,600 per hourly worker and upwards of $2,650 for each salaried employee. Ouch!

Employee engagement creates advocates

Employee engagement creates employee advocates. Advocates become addicted to your brand and brand addicts scream your message across their network. On average, your employees have around 10 times more connections on social media than your brand has alone, according to a study from Social Chorus. That means your company with 500 employees can reach 5,000 more people than your marketing department by creating brand advocates. That wider net offers up a larger interest and a stronger start into the sales funnel.

And, extra reach is helpful in creating a brand impression fueled by authenticity. You’re asking the people who know your brand best to talk about it, in their own language, at their own free will, which offers up a better connecting point for prospects. A 2015 Hinge Research Institute and Social Media Today survey, more than 79 percent of respondents with employee advocacy programs in place reported boosted brand visibility. And 65 percent say improved brand recognition, while 33.7 percent logged stronger brand loyalty.

But brands that focus on pushing content are missing the best part! They’re skimming the development and empowerment of the internal Subject Matter Experts.

The Good Stuff Comes with the Internal SMEs

Asking employees to share content is an awesome first step. But the real magic happens when brands take the time to identify their own internal SMEs and use them to connect topic influencers outside of the company. In other words, while all employee advocates are important, they’re not all created equal.

The power of employee advocacy through SMEs – especially through the owned email channel – can empower content creators and sharers across the organization.

Using employee email to empower advocates

Your people may already be posting with no incentives. But you have no way to measure that impact because it happens so irregularly. Offer them a reason and give them the means to discuss something on social media. Then reward them for doing so. Give them the right content, at the right time and offer up the right rewards.

But how are you going to share your content with your employees – and then how will they share it? Sure Facebook is cool, LinkedIn is too. But a study from McKinsey & Company found email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter. That’s because 91 percent of all US consumers still use email daily. And the rate at which emails prompt purchases is estimated to be at least three times that of social media. Moreover, the average purchase is 17 percent higher.