|IS YOUR ENGAGEMENT LEVEL ONLY AT THE OFFICE PARTY
OR WHEN THERE IS A GIMMICK TO THRILL EMPLOYEE???????
THE giant steps TO
lasting EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
An engaged employee is a person who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work. Truly engaged employees are attracted to, and inspired by, their work (“I want to do this”), committed (“I am dedicated to the success of what I am doing”), and fascinated (“I love what I am doing”). Engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing to invest the discretionary effort – exceeding duty’s call – to see that the organization succeeds in tackling a shortage of skilled employees which is an emerging trend.
IS THERE A IMPERATIVE IN EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT?
We believe that the CEO must be concerned about the level of engagement in the workplace. Most recent research by global consulting firms indicate that:
· Only 30 percent of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. These employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. People that are actively engaged help move the organization forward.
· 50% of employees are not engaged. These employees have essentially “checked out,” sleepwalking through their workday and putting time – but not passion – into their work. These people the common jest “Never mistake activity for accomplishment.”
· 20% of employees are actively disengaged. These employees are busy acting out their unhappiness, undermining what their engaged co-workers are trying to accomplish.
Given these data, it is not difficult to understand that companies that do a better job of engaging their employees do outperform their competition.
DO ENGAGED EMPLOYEES MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Employee engagement can not only make a real difference, THEY BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE it can set the great organizations apart from the merely good ones.
o 85% percent of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact the quality of their organization’s products, compared with only 30 percent of the disengaged.
o 70 percent of highly engaged employees believe they can positively affect customer service, versus 25 percent of the disengaged.
o 65 percent of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact costs in their job or unit, compared with just 20percent of the disengaged.
EIGHT GIANT STEPS TO
LASTING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
How can leaders engage employees’ heads, hearts, and hands? The literature offers several avenues for action; we summarize these basic steps for employee engagement
1. LEADERS MUST SHOW THAT THEY VALUE EMPLOYEES Employee-focused initiatives such as profit sharing and implementing work–life balance initiatives are important. However, if employees’ relationship with their managers is messed-up, then no amount of perks will persuade employees to perform at top levels. Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss. Employees look at whether organizations and their leader walk the talk when they proclaim that, “Our employees are our most valuable asset.”
2. CHALLENGING AND MEANINGFUL WORK WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR CAREER ADVANCEMENT. Leaders should provide challenging and meaningful work with opportunities for career advancement. Most people want to do new things in their job. For example, do organizations provide job rotation for their top talent? Are people assigned stretch goals? Do leaders hold people accountable for progress? Are jobs enriched in duties and responsibilities? Good leaders challenge employees; but at the same time, they must instill the confidence that the challenges can be met. Not giving people the knowledge and tools to be successful is unethical and de-motivating; it is also likely to lead to stress, frustration, and, ultimately, lack of engagement.
3. LEADERS MUST COMMUNICATE A CLEAR VISION.
What we see is a whole mess of people going to a cricket match and nobody is telling them what the rules are. … don’t use information to intimidate, control or manipulate people. Use it to teach people how to work together to achieve common goals and thereby gain control over their lives.
People want to understand the vision that senior leadership has for the organization, and the goals that leaders or departmental heads have for the division, unit, or team. Success in life and organizations is, to a great extent, determined by how clear individuals are about their goals and what they really want to achieve. In sum, employees need to understand what the organization’s goals are, why they are important, and how the goals can best be attained. Clarity about what the organization stands for, what it wants to achieve, and how people can contribute to the organization’s success is not always evident.
4. LEADERS CLARIFY THEIR EXPECTATIONS ABOUT EMPLOYEES AND PROVIDE FEEDBACK
Good leaders establish processes and procedures that help people master important tasks and facilitate goal achievement. There is a great anecdote about a legendary sports coach. He showed how important feedback – positive and constructive – is in the pursuit of greatness. Among the secrets of his phenomenal success was that he kept detailed diaries on each of his players. He kept track of small improvements he felt the players could make and did make. At the end of each practice, he would share his thoughts with the players. The lesson here is that good leaders work daily to improve the skills of their people and create small wins that help the team, unit, or organization perform at its best.
5. BUSINESS LEADERS CAN LEARN TO CONGRATULATE Surveys show that, over and over, employees feel that they receive immediate feedback when their performance is poor, or below expectations. These same employees also report that praise and recognition for strong performance is much less common. Exceptional leaders give recognition, and they do so a lot; they coach and convey.
6. PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW THAT THEIR INPUT MATTERS
They want to be sure they are contributing to the organization’s success in a meaningful way. Companies which tried to measure performance have found a few obvious conclusions...First, an employee’s understanding of the connection between her work – as evidenced by specific job-relevant behaviors – and the strategic objectives of the company had a positive impact on job performance. Second, an employee’s attitude towards the job and the company had the greatest impact on loyalty and customer service than all the other employee factors combined. Third, improvements in employee attitude led to improvements in job-relevant behavior; this, in turn, increased customer satisfaction and an improvement in revenue growth. In sum, good leaders help people see and feel how they are contributing to the organization’s success and future.
7. EMPLOYEES VALUE CONTROL OVER THE FLOW AND PACE OF THEIR JOBS
Employees value control over the flow and pace of their jobs and leaders can create opportunities for employees to exercise this control. Do leaders consult with their employees with regard to their needs? Are leaders flexible and attuned to the needs of the employees as well as the organization? Do leaders involve employees in decision-making, particularly when employees will be directly affected by the decision? Do employees have a say in setting goals or milestones that are deemed important? Are employees able to voice their ideas, and does leadership show that contributions are valued?
A feeling of “being in on things,” and of being given opportunities to participate in decision making often reduces stress; it also creates trust and a culture where people want to take ownership of problems and their solutions. There are numerous examples of organizations whose implementation of an open-book management style and creating room for employees to contribute to making decisions had a positive effect on engagement and organizational performance. Initiatives such as Six Sigma are dependent, in part, on the active participation of employees on the shop floor.
8. FOSTER A ROBUST TEAM CLIMATE Studies show that, when employees work in teams and have the trust and cooperation of their team members, they outperform individuals and teams which lack good relationships. Great leaders are team builders; they create an environment that fosters trust and collaboration. Surveys indicate that being cared about by colleagues is a strong predictor of employee engagement. Thus, a continuous challenge for leaders is to rally individuals to collaborate on organizational, departmental, and group goals, while excluding individuals pursuing their self-interest.
H R professionals have argued that competitive advantage can be gained by creating an engaged workforce. The data and argument that that we present above are a compelling case why leaders need to make employee engagement one of their priorities. Leaders should actively try to identify the level of engagement in their organization, find the reasons behind the lack of full engagement, strive to eliminate those reasons, and implement behavioral strategies that will facilitate full engagement. These efforts should be ongoing. Employee engagement is hard to achieve and if not sustained by leaders it can wither with relative ease
Best of luck
Dr Wilfred Monteiro