Win the Engagement Game

Here’s some interesting data from Gallup, a renowned firm that helps leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems, including employee engagement:

  • 33% of American Workers are engaged by their jobs
  • 52% of American Workers say they are “just showing up”
  • 17% are actively disengaged

Understand What’s Happening and Why

The first step in solving disengagement is to find out why. A couple ways of doing so:

  • Conduct an anonymous survey where everyone can chime in
    • Focus questions on leadership, career development opportunities, company pride, and how everyone views their working relationships
  • Ask in direct conversations
    • Be empathetic
    • Receive the input respectively and non-defensively
  • Track workforce-related key performance indicators
    • Turnover rate, turnover costs

Listening and studying data is key to addressing engagement issues – you can’t solve problems unless you understand them. Many companies start searching for a single root problem when there’s often more to it. Listen before you diagnose.

Keep Your Promises

Next, make sure your leadership team and HR are on the same page so that you can act on employee concerns and feedback – You’ll do more harm to your company culture and employees’ engagement levels if your inquiries don’t result in visible changes in the workplace.
Keep communication open by:

  • Being honest with your employees if topics come up that are impossible to act on.
  • Add a suggestion box, a dedicated e-mail address, or brown-bag meetings during lunches and breaks

Don’t get stuck in “analysis paralysis” when you can’t decide what to do/how to begin. Select 1-2 areas you think will have the biggest impact on engagement and act on them.

Communicate at All Levels

Transparency is at the heart of any plan to attach disengagement – this shows respect and holds the leadership team accountable for why something is or is not happening.

While engagement begins at the top, the quality of employee’s relationships with their immediate supervisors (middle-managers/supervisors) is the most impactful factor in determining engagement levels in an organization (can account for as much as 70% of engagement score).

Managers need to spend more time communicating with their direct reports

  • 53% of employees don’t have a clear understanding of how their role contributes to their company’s objectives
  • 54% believe that their colleagues appreciate them more than their supervisors or executives.

Have a Plan and Track your Progress

Tips from Engagement Professionals:

  • Culture is driven from the top down
  • Set specific goals and assign responsibility for each one
  • Recognize/Reward efforts
  • Budget – be able to plan your expenses for positive and negative outcomes
  • Keep up with the workforce’s concerns; what employees value one year may not necessarily carry over to the next

Improving engagement is about fixing processes and building relationships among staff and managers across the organization.