Is employee engagement really a concern in the workplace? The answer is: Leaders, managers and owners typically cannot identify the lack of engagement in their staff as accurately as they think. Some of the answers often heard when first asking about employee engagement are:
“Everything’s going great.”
“We made our sales quota, our team must be engaged.”
“We are seasoned professionals with lots of training.”
“We don’t need any team building.”
I work with very successful managers, business owners and C suite executives. Initially 75%- 80% think they DO NOT have an employee engagement problem. NOTE: If this was true, our workplace cultural environment would be the exact opposite of what research is telling us.
Let’s consider the statistics. Gallup, who has gathered data on employee behavior for more than 80 years, reported recently that 71% of our workforce is disengaged, and 24% of those employees are actively disengaged. Actively disengaged means, “More likely to look for other opportunities while dragging down the productivity of the rest of the team.” Gallup estimates that the cost of disengaged workers lies somewhere between $450 – $550 BILLION each year in lost productivity. So my conclusion is YES, employee engagement SHOULD BE a concern in the workplace, if it is not already.
You can find different statistics (they will vary about 5 points) but they all bring us to the same conclusion – a large number of our employees are not inspired and are not maximizing their positive affect on our businesses. So you might ask: “Why is the perception vs. the reality so vastly different?” Is research off, or are we “off” in our minds? I have found it to be the latter.
But what can be done? Seek first to understand. Maybe the disillusion comes because employee engagement is seen as difficult to measure. When truly it is not.
Employee Happiness + Employee Engagement = Greater Profits and Achievement
Employee engagement often seems like an elusive goal, but managers and leaders must prioritize engagement as a major driving force behind productivity and employee satisfaction, making it a worthwhile achievement. Employee happiness is the ultimate profit driver, and I don’t just mean financial profit. This refers to profits of well-being, connectedness, peace of mind, achievement and so much more.
The time has come for organizations and business owners to start giving engagement the focus it deserves. We measure KPIs for business data. Now we have to start using an analytical process to find out what motivates and helps retain your employees. Let’s face it, if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it, and if you can’t manage it then how can you improve it?
Employee engagement, according to experts, drives all the good things an organization needs to thrive – better customer outcomes, employee retention and increased productivity. Employee engagement is important because a well-engaged employee means the difference between just showing up or excelling at what they do. With today’s increased competition for top-notch talent, and the huge costs to retrain new staff, engagement becomes more important than ever.
What Should Be Measured
Think about all the ways we analyze customer data – including average revenue per user, costs to acquire, propensity to cancel services, etc. We can delve into employee data with equal intensity. Gallup has what they call the Q12 to Measure Engagement which includes the following to ask your employees. This information will begin to give you some idea of your engagement levels. (There is more to measure but this is a good start.)
Ask all employees to anonymously answer the following with a YES or NO.
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- In the last 7 days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- In the last 6 months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
This guide can initially gauge your company’s level of employee engagement. Compile the results for a more accurate look at the engagement levels of your employees as a team. You might even consider hiring an outside source to help. This will tell the true story about what is really happening in your work environment.
Do you want better productivity from your team and a higher retention rate, all while improving your customer’s overall experience? Then it’s time to build an engagement strategy for your organization. Shari Pheasant is the CEO of Horse Power Strategies, a local company that thrives on tapping into your human capital potential to reach new heights. We are happy to send you our complimentary tool: 3 Tests that Determine if your Company Culture Drives Employee Engagement or Stalls It’s Engine.