The now well circulated Gallup Poll of 2013 on Employee Engagement found that on average up to 70% of employees were not engaged with their organisation effectively meaning 35% of spend on people was wasted. Further a large portion of these employees were actively working against the interests of their organisation. These numbers are scary. The estimated cost to the US economy is 500Bn (yes Billion) per annum. It also means that in an average 100 employee company it costs around 1.5 Million per annum – excluding the cost of negative activity.
Employee engagement is an enabler for the factors an organization needs to thrive – better customer satisfaction and retention, better employee retention, increased sales and increased productivity. Engaged employees excel at what they do.
So what is engagement?
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.
To engage employees it is necessary to provide an environment and a culture, through Leadership and good management practice, that encourages alignment with the Organisations goals:
Employees are clear about what is expected of them at work. They also know their boundaries and limits. They can take a risk and know someone has their back.
Employees feel they are listened to and that their opinion counts and makes a difference.
Everybody feels they are moving forward, learning and growing. This is more than just experience, its learning new skills, adapting to new challenges and keeping up with changes.
The people who work in the company are given the materials and resources to do their job. They can focus on doing the job, not resourcing it.
Everyone understands the “why” of the organisation. What it is the Organisation is about. This aligns with the individual’s purpose and values.
Employees get to be their best, work their best and reach their potential while doing their job. The Organisation does not get in the way of them doing their job – for example systems, paperwork, form filling etc. do not become the main activity.
People work in teams that are jointly committed to quality work, similar effort and which are led, or managed, to ensure strong relations, fairness and team as well as individual recognition.
Praise or feedback is received regularly (weekly) and is tied to evaluating and discussing overall progress and upskilling. Personal development is encouraged and the “Boss” or “Manager” cares about the employee as a person.
The key to engagement is to create an environment and a culture which encourages Autonomy, Motivation, Empowerment and Positive Realism. It requires Authentic Leadership and a Service focus to encourage the fairness, trust and safety in which to grow the potential of your people and your Organisation.