Employee Engagement - Not As Hard As You Think

    Are your employees invested in your company’s success? Do they believe that what they do makes a difference?

    Are your employees engaged?

    I read in a Gallup Poll (Oct. 2011) that 71% of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work.  That’s a huge number. These workers are not actively invested in their company’s success.  They’re just putting in the time, punching the clock. Even more surprising is that those most likely to be less engaged are workers with at least some college education or workers who are middle-aged (30-64 years of age.)  These are people who have been educated for a specific career and are most likely in the middle of their working careers.  And they are least engaged.

    The term Employee Engagement is getting a lot of play right now. But it’s really not all that new.  If you want to know if your employees are ‘engaged’, ask them if they like what they do.  Ask them what their strengths are and if they feel they are using those strengths.  If they really don’t know or have never given it much thought, help them figure it out. When a person is able to work to their strengths, they will be less stressed and more productive in their job.  Better yet, help them develop new strengths if that is something they’d like to do. This leads to greater employee engagement.   A bigger challenge could be what they need to feel more invested.

    Communicate with your employees.  That’s not new, is it?  Open communications is the only way each of you will know what’s going on.  An owner or manager needs to share the company mission and what role employees play in it. They need to give them feedback on their individual and team performance.  Employees need to ask for clarification on their roles, ask for support, communicate what they need to be effective in their job and provide feedback to management.  The employee is the person in the day-to-day operations and knows best how processes are working and which products are selling.  The manager needs to listen to this feedback and use this information to make process and product decisions.  And the company needs to provide an easy way for employees to communicate with each other, sharing the information needed so they can work together toward the company mission.

    Once employees have the right job or task or career, and once open communication exists and is used effectively, make sure that correct measurements, or key performance indicators are in place. Accountability is a key factor in motivation for any employee.  It’s very critical that the measurements reflect the employee’s responsibilities and that they are reported accurately.

    And if you want even more engagement and investment from your employees, make sure to use that open communication and those measurements in combination to recognize every employee for their contribution. Whether it’s quantifiable, such as a sales quota achievement, or more subjective, like the unsung hero, show employees how they have contributed to the organizations success. Show them in front of others, informally and formally.  The timing is perfect right now to do this.  The end of the year is a perfect time to recognize those employees who have performed well in 2012.  They’ll start 2013 more engaged and ready to go!

    Spend some time evaluating if your employees are engaged and involved.  Do they like what they are doing?  Are they using their strengths? Does open communication exist in your organization?  Be real about this.  Ask for honest feedback to see if others feel the same way you do. Are you measuring your employees on key factors that contribute to the success of your company?  Are you rewarding them when they perform well in these measurements? Use the answers to these questions to set a plan in place now.  Employee Engagement - not as hard as you think.

    Blessings, Anne

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