If you ask your staff if they are motivated and engaged at work, what would they say? Employee Engagement is not just about staff turning up and doing their job or even feeling a sense of job satisfaction or happiness. It’s more than that. It’s about tapping in to each employee’s emotional commitment to the organisation and the organisation’s goals. It’s about a level of emotional dedication that will result in individuals going the extra mile because they are truly aligned with the organisation’s goals, culture and core values.
Employee Engagement is at an all time low at 35%, according to the 2019 Gallup Employee Engagement survey. Achieving high Employee Engagement improves productivity, quality, business results, efficiency, customer satisfaction, business referral rate, sales and ultimately bottom line profit.
So what can organisations do to boost Employee Engagement? It all starts with establishing a clear business strategy, goals and core values. Consulting and involving staff at every level of the organisation is essential in getting “buy in” as it demonstrates that senior leaders value their employees’ input and conveys a sense of inclusion, teamwork and a shared common goal that all employees can aspire to achieve.
Employ staff with the right motivational fit for the job role, the business goals and values, not necessarily who you “connect” with at the interview. It can be tempting to be drawn to people who are like us and this can be a pitfall when recruiting new staff. It’s important to job match the candidate to the job role and person specification (skill set). If you appoint a candidate who is ambitious and driven for the purpose of testing and implementing technical innovation you may have secured a square peg in a round hole. What you really need is someone who is motivated to protect and preserve, a devil’s advocate who will have the agility and awareness to problem solve and ultimately deliver. Making the wrong choice could seriously damage the success of the organisation.
Communicate with each employee according to their own behavioural preferences. This will help to build rapport, trust and shows the employee that they are being treated as an individual which demonstrates a level of respect and increases the employee’s likelihood of emotionally committing to the organisation and the organisation goals. Understanding and effectively communicating with each employee individually isn’t easy and requires positive intention, action, review, improvement and consistency.
So why is Employee Engagement so low? I believe that it is largely due to organisations missing a trick in investing sufficiently in leadership and management to equip staff with the right tools to build and develop dynamic relationships with employees throughout the organisation and embed their learning to reap the results. An Employee Engagement sea change takes time, continued commitment and a sincere desire to make positive relational change throughout every level of the organisation. A weak link will prevent success and will cause significant damage.
The largest cost and the largest asset of an organisation is the people who work there. Just imagine if organisations could increase their Employee Engagement, even by 20%. What would their bottom line look like then?