Pursuing the Gallup website for inspiration and ideas about this week’s blog topic, I was struck by a passage about employee engagement. It was startlingly straight-forward:
The world’s top-performing organizations understand that employee engagement is a force that drives performance outcomes. In the best organizations, engagement is more than a human resources initiative — it is a strategic foundation for the way they do business.
Research by Gallup and others shows that engaged employees are more productive. They are more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and more likely to withstand temptations to leave. The best-performing companies know that an employee engagement improvement strategy linked to the achievement of corporate goals will help them win in the marketplace.
They go on to explain:
Actively disengaged employees erode an organization’s bottom line while breaking the spirits of colleagues in the process. Within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates this cost to be more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone. In stark contrast, world-class organizations with an engagement ratio near 8:1 have built a sustainable model using this approach. As organizations move toward this benchmark, they greatly reduce the negative impact of actively disengaged employees while unleashing the organization’s potential for rapid growth.
Wow! I’m in!! I’m gonna get me some employee engagement for my company!!! Not so fast, Bucko. This employee engagement stuff isn’t for the faint at heart. As a matter of fact, it takes a level of commitment that few companies seem to have the ability to pull off. It also requires change. That’s never fun, right? Maybe engagement isn’t such a great idea…
Achieving employee engagement is at once simple and complex. The hardest part is changing the mentality of the company’s leaders. Surprisingly, the idea of having to change the way we perceive and treat our employees usually trumps the desire to be productive and profitable. Improving engagement means embracing a style of management that borders on “enlightened”. Yes, Luke, it’s time to listen to Yoda!
But first, let’s take a look at a Gallup tool used to measure engagement. It’s called the 12 Elements of Great Management. Answering yes or no, how would your employees respond:
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
Imagine asking your employees these 12 questions.
- How do you think your company would do?
- What would it take to change your company to a more profitable, productive and happier organization?
For many companies the idea of engaged employees is a scary proposition. There is no doubt; we have found that once you open this positive Pandora’s Box, there is no turning back. Your team and your life will never be the same. We also discovered an amazing by-product to an engaged and empowered team: quality of life improved for the team and the management.
Moving towards engagement:
Open your mind! One of our favorite sayings- “The mind is like a parachute, it works best when it is open.” Envision your company as a place where your people answer “yes” to all 12 Elements of Great Management questions. What would that look and feel like? It that the kind of workplace you want to build? What has to change to get you there?
Embrace Change! Be prepared to try something new. Change is good and this kind of change can radically improve your quality of life!
Take a look around. How many on your team are truly engaged? What does that even look like? More importantly, are you engaged? This journey will begin with you!
Next week we will explore how engagement works and how you can improve your quality of life! Stay tuned…