According to Gallup’s State of Global Workplace report, only an alarming 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at their place of work.
What do these “engaged” workers exemplify? You will find these are the employees that are willing to go above and beyond to get the job done. They understand how their personal work relates to the mission of the organization and are far more likely to be passionate about the work they do, adopting the company’s mission as their own.
Their “not-engaged” and “actively disengaged’ counterparts are lacking this passion in their work and it shows. 70% of American workers fall into this category according to the recent Gallup report.
Jim Clifton, Gallup’s Chairman and CEO shares in the report that these managers creating active disengagement in organizations are costing the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually.
“If your company reflects the average in the U.S., just imagine what poor management and disengagement are costing your bottom line.” - Jim Clifton
Robyn Reilly, Senior Consultant with Gallup New Zealand describes five strategies organizations can use to help solve this dilemma and obtain the benefits of increased employee engagement.
- Use the right employee engagement survey. When a company asks its employees for their opinions, those employees expect action to follow. But businesses often make the mistake of using employee surveys to collect data that is irrelevant or impossible to act on. Any survey data must be specific, relevant, and actionable for any team at any organizational level. It should also be proven to influence key performance metrics.
- Focus on engagement at the local and organizational levels. Real change occurs at the local, workgroup level, but it only happens when company leaders set the tone from the top. Companies realize the most benefit from engagement initiatives when leaders weave employee engagement into performance expectations for managers and enable them to execute on those expectations. Managers and employees must feel empowered by leaders to make a significant difference in their immediate environment. Organizational leadership should work in partnership with employees to identify the barriers to engagement and the opportunities that exist to effect positive change. Employees are more familiar with the company’s processes, systems, products and customers. They are also experts on themselves and their team. So it makes sense that they will have the best ideas to maximize these elements, delivering improved performance, business innovation and better workplace experiences.
- Select the right managers. The best managers understand that their success and that of the organization relies on employees’ achievements. But not everyone can be a great manager. Great managers care about their people’s success; they seek to understand each person’s strengths and provide him or her with every opportunity to use them in his or her role. They empower their employees, recognize and value their contributions and actively seek their ideas and opinions. It takes talent to be a great manager, and selecting people who have this talent is important. Whether hiring from the outside or promoting from within, organizations that scientifically select managers for the unique talents it takes to effectively manage people greatly increase the odds of engaging their employees. Companies should treat these roles as unique, with distinct functional demands that require a specific talent set.
- Coach managers and hold them accountable for their employees’ engagement. Gallup’s research has found that managers are primarily responsible for their employees’ engagement levels. Organizations should coach managers to take an active role in building engagement plans with their employees, hold managers accountable, track their progress and ensure that they continuously focus on emotionally engaging their employees. The most successful managers view the Q12 engagement tool as elements for great managing, rather than questions for measuring. By doing so, they have a powerful framework to help guide the creation of a strong, engaged workplace.
- Define engagement goals in realistic, everyday terms. Leaders must make engagement goals meaningful to employees’ day-to-day experiences to bring engagement to life. Describing what success looks like using powerful descriptions and emotive language helps give meaning to the goals and builds commitment within a team. Ensure that managers discuss employee engagement at weekly meetings, in action-planning sessions and in one-on-one meetings with employees to weave engagement into daily interactions and activities and make it part of the workplace DNA.
Read more about this article in Employment Today.
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