Gallup recently released an article that ranked employee engagement by state and even where it’s at its highest, it’s at 37%. In many states, it’s much lower and overall, it’s 33%. So what’s everyone else doing? Half of all surveyed employees said that they were ‘not engaged’. Active disengagement was as high as 21% in some states.
Why do we care?
Gallup goes on to say that employee engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes. Financial success, innovation and even branding are all driven by employee engagement. When payroll is the single largest expense on the income statement, 33 cents on the dollar is a poor return on investment. Knowing what levers to push to drive employee engagement is the first step to course correction.
Capitalize on employee strengths rather than correcting weaknesses.
Development plans that leverage employee strengths tend to do better in terms of employee satisfaction and productivity, and by correlation business results, than do plans that focus on areas of improvement. Changing the conversation to one that is positive, rewarding and highlights what people do really well is easier, more rewarding and effective.
Listen. And, assume value is what you’re hearing.
Employees may feel that their voices aren’t being heard. Often it’s a perception that leadership doesn’t share, so the challenge is to show employees that they are being heard and that their opinion is valued. While employees cannot participate in every decision, there are some decisions where employees can participate in the process. Give them a seat at the table, listen to what they’re saying, and assume value in what you’re hearing from them.
Recognize and Reward.
Recognizing employee performance, through rewards and other means of recognition, is key to building and maintaining engagement. People need to know that their contribution is well understood and valued by leadership and the organization. Rewards are both extrinsic (compensation) and intrinsic (related to the job roles and workplace). Satisfy extrinsic needs, but recognize that intrinsic rewards are key to building ongoing, sustainable change in employee engagement.