Building Engagement from the Inside

Gallup released a poll this week showing that employee engagement holding steady this month at a whopping 32.6%.  Take a minute to let that sink in.  That’s right: less than ⅓ of surveyed employees consider themselves engaged in their work.

gallup poll

So what’s everyone else doing?  Half of all surveyed employees said that they were ‘not engaged’ and just under 17% were actively disengaged.  This means 17 out of 100 employees not only care more about the Pokémon Go than they do their projects work, but they are taking their colleagues along with them for the ride.

Why do we care?

Gallup goes on to say that employee engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes.  Financial success, innovation and even branding are all driven by employee engagement.  Certainly with with many organizations’ payroll being the single largest expense on the income statement, 32 cents on the dollar is a fairly meager return on investment.

What can we do about it?

Knowing what levers to push to drive employee engagement is the first step to course correction.  Its’ not as hard as you might think.

  • Capitalize on employee strengths rather than try to develop weaknesses

Development plans that leverage employee strengths tend to do better in terms of employee satisfaction and productivity, and by correlation business results, than do plans that focus on areas of improvement.  Changing the conversation to one that is positive, rewarding and highlights what people do really well is easier, more rewarding and effective.

  • Listen.  And, assume value is what you’re hearing.

Employees may feel that their voices aren’t being heard.  Often it’s a perception that leadership doesn’t share, so the challenge is to show employees that they are being heard and that their opinion is valued.  While not all employees can participate in every decision in an organization, every company has some decisions where employees can participate in the process.  Give them a seat at the table, listen to what they’re saying and, rather than jump to counter arguments, assume value in what you’re hearing from them.

  • Recognize (and reward)

Recognizing employee performance, sometimes through rewards, but also through various other means of recognition is absolutely key to building and maintaining engagement.  People need to know that their contribution makes sense, is well understood, and valued by leadership and the organization.  Rewards are both extrinsic (compensation) and intrinsic (related to the job roles and workplace).  Satisfy the need for extrinsic rewards, but reconize that intrinsic rewards are the key to building ongoing, sustainable positive change in your employee engagement.

Related:

3 Ways to Build Employee Engagement

Is It Time to Toss Out the Annual Performance Review?

 

This article is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be human resources consulting advice or specific advice for your business needs.

© 2016 Allium Consulting Group, LLC.  All rights reserved.