Employees today—an engagement epidemic?
According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace study, the United States is facing serious struggles with productivity, and the strife is directly related to low employee engagement. Of the 100 million full-time employees in the United States, “one-third of those employees are what Gallup calls engaged at work,” states Jim Clifton, Gallup’s CEO/chairman. “They love their jobs and make their organization and America better every day. At the other end, 16% of employees are actively disengaged — they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged — they’re just there.” If you ask us, this sounds a bit like an employee engagement “epidemic” of sorts, yet one that can be addressed with proven solutions and strategies.
Here are three things you can do to improve employee engagement:
1. Change The Culture
It’s true that most of your employees come to work for a paycheck. But they come to work for other reasons, too. They come to work to engage with and have relationships with others. They come to work to apply their skills and feel useful. They also come to work to feel like they matter, are part of something bigger than themselves, and are making a difference. Given all this, how well does your culture support these more intrinsic needs of your workers? If there are areas for improvement here, develop strategies and activities that will help communicate and reinforce a culture that’s more than just about money but about the fact that your people matter.
2. Transform Everyone
People want to feel valued. They want to grow. And they want to be held accountable. This is the case not just for leaders and managers but people throughout all levels of the organization as well as those on the front lines and those behind the scenes. As you focus on growing employee engagement, don’t just think about “training” your employees but transforming them, or helping them become the best that they can be and reach goals that support their true potential.
In today’s world, there are so many online and in-person resources available for learning. One of the ways to show your employees that you care about them is to invest in their growth and development. Whether it’s classes, the MAP 2.5-day program, or some other type of professional learning opportunity, make sure to choose a resource that’s going to motivate them and improve their productivity and company success.
3. Stay Committed
Whether performance is strong and needs to be sustained or it is consistently falling short of some vital goal, employee engagement must always remain on every organization’s front burner.
As Gallup recommends in its report, give it your all. “Don’t put your toe in it. You can’t afford a lot of mistakes and even failures because the system you currently use doesn’t work anyway.”
Call together a team who can tackle the challenge the right way—enthusiastically, strategically and steadfastly. Demand collaboration around developing an accountability action plan, share this engagement blueprint with your people, and build in the activities, tools and empowerment to support it.
Remember, as you roll out any engagement efforts, be realistic. Results likely won’t come right away. Like planting any other seed, this, too, will take time to fully manifest. But stay dedicated and focused on engagement growth and strong engagement can happen for your people and transform your organization’s culture.
Why do you think so many of today’s employees struggle to remain actively engaged?