With employee engagement currently running at around 32% in the US, costing the US Economy between $450b to $550b each year in lost productivity, it’s time that we do something to improve the situation, and do it FAST.
FAST is an approach where we look to ensure that we have the right Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Transparency, as this will help us look to get the desired results.
When it comes to employee engagement, we need to ensure that we have the right focus. Too often we hear the claim (or corporate lie), that our people are our most important asset, but rarely do you see that put into practice. It seems that order of priorities is 1 – profits, 2 – customers and then our people a distant third.
To increase engagement, and also profits and customer satisfaction, we need to truly put our people first, as this will help create a win-win-win scenario.
At one company where I was consulting the manager told me he was thinking about making some wholesale changes to his team, looking to bring in some engaged staff to replace those members of his team who were neither inspired or committed.
I’d like to say that this attitude is rare, but it feel like it is more like the norm.
When it comes to employee engagement, it’s not the employee who are accountable for being engaged or engagement. It’s the leader!
Leadership defines culture. If we want our teams to be engaged, then we need to be engaged, and we need to look to actively engage them. We cannot delegate engagement to our teams it’s not the way it works.
Just look at the research, over 50% of staff who leave a company state the number one reason they left because was because of their manager.
If you’re the leader, then you are accountable for employee engagement.
Now that we know that the leaders are accountable for employee engagement here are three very simple, low-cost ways to boost employee engagement, which you can start today.
- Show your team you care about them
- Give them praise and feedback
- Take an interest in their career development
This is basic leadership, management 101, yet it’s amazing how many leaders fail to do it. How they overcomplicate engagement and make it more difficult than it should be.
Keep it simple, and show you’re people you care about them, their careers and give positive feedback.
It’s easy to imagine that the majority of our staff fall into 32% of engaged employees, to fool ourselves that this is a problem that others suffer from, and doesn’t relate to us.
Now that maybe the case, but unless we measure engagement, we will never have the transparency into how we are truly performing and to know that we whether need to do something or not.
By annually measuring engagement we can also see the impact of the steps we are taking to increase engagement, to see if they are working or not, and if not we can change approach.
It also shows to our team that we are interested in them and their engagement, which will also help to increase engagement, especially if we take it seriously.
A quick way to take a health check on your employee engagement would be to look at your staff turnover rates, if they are in line the industry average, then it’s a fair bet that your employees are engaged at the national average too.
You have to measure it to improve it.
There are significant benefits of having a highly motivated team, according to study by Dale Carnegie Training, companies with engaged teams outperform their competitors by 202%.
Let’s stop taking about our employees being our most important asset, let’s show it and reap the benefits.
If your team is highly engaged, I’d be very interested to hear about how you have achieved that, what was your approach and benefits.
This article first appeared in Huffington Post on March 4th.