Engagement: Are Your Employees and Engagement Scores Moving in the Right Direction?

Can you remember a time when you felt totally engaged in what you were doing? 

Maybe you were excited about a new strategy at work or a community project. Whatever it was, do you remember the feeling of excitement, enthusiasm and commitment you had as you worked toward a shared goal with others?  

That’s what engagement is....the ability to tap into the discretionary commitment and energy an individual or team has to give. These engaged employees are the vehicle for growth in any business, but unfortunately they’re in short supply according to the results of the 2013 Gallup Survey titled State of the American Workplace

The most recent Gallup Survey reports that 30% of America’s full-time workers are engaged and inspired at work, 20% are actively disengaged and the other 50% are not engaged – they’re present but not inspired by their work or their managers. 

We can all agree that it’s unlikely we’ll win the hearts and minds of every employee. But, what might be possible if businesses were able to convert that 50% (or maybe 25%) from not engaged to engaged? If that were the case, businesses would experience positive changes in customer ratings, profitability, productivity, turnover, safety and quality. 

What would it take to achieve such an aggressive goal? 

  • A willing senior leadership team that acknowledges poor managers are costing them talent, growth and profits.
  • A belief that management skills can be improved with the right balance of discipline and development.
  • A commitment to invest in retaining talent in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
  • A talent management strategy that focuses on selecting people who represent the values and culture of the organization.
  • An understanding that different employees need different engagement strategies. Get to know your employees and what motivates them – working from home, flexibility, stretch projects – if they’re getting what they need they’ll be more engaged.
  • And finally, helping your managers learn how to be a coach, a different role than that of a supervisor.  

Engaged employees are committed to the organization’s mission; they are inspired by the work they do; they have a good relationship with their boss; and the culture of the organization is a good fit with their values. 

Are your employees and engagement scores moving in the right direction?

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  1. Kim's avatar
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    Well said Pat! I know for me, I am more engaged when my work and the organization's mission align with my personal passion for helping others! I firmly believe that alignment between employees' goals, management's objectives and organizational mission is another driver for engagement success!
  2. Patricia Berg's avatar
    Patricia Berg
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    Kim,I'm with you on the issue of alignment. Another source of misalignment is around values. Today employees want to know what the company stands for and how they demonstrate their values both inside and outside the company. Being at odds with the company's values is a major source of disengagement. Just last week we were reviewing our values and an employee said I can see myself in this picture. That's engagement.
  3. Kim's avatar
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    So true Pat! A lack of alignment with values is a driver of turnover as well. That leads me to a question for you...which do you think is worse: to have actively disengaged employees or turnover?
  4. Patricia Berg's avatar
    Patricia Berg
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    That's a tricky one Kim. It depends on where the turnover is in the organization and what impact it has on the business.

    Having said that, I would personally much rather have turnover than disengaged employees. Engaged employees take risks, innovate, challenge the status quo, and are change resilient. Those traits are the foundation for growth and create cultures of engagement.
  5. Kim's avatar
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    It is tricky Pat. When employees are "actively" disengaged, they are harming the company in some way...negative talk to clients, demotivating other employees, etc. At least with turnover, companies are hopefully not having to repair "damages". At least that's my simplistic perspective on it. Thanks again for a thought provoking article!

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