Employee engagement has a direct affect on organizational performance. For over 20 years, we’ve discussed the importance of engagement. It’s fundamental to understand that employees make, or break, an organization. So, when employees are not engaged, they are bringing a minimal effort to work (adding little value). Moreover, when employees are actively disengaged, they are likely working against the organization and bringing everyone down. Negativity is contagious. According to Gallup’s State of the Workplace Global Report, less that 1/3 of your employees are engaged.
Today, we want to discuss your organization’s biggest opportunity (and most silent engagement killer). You may be thinking about those actively disengaged, grumbly, visibly toxic employees. Yes. They are a problem (to be discussed later), but today we are going to discuss the bulk of your employees – those who are not engaged. Most of your employees are not engaged.
The crux of the matter is that isn’t not necessarily easy to identify those employees who are not engaged. They might be content, show up on time, get the job “done.” They might fall into that ever-so-precarious "satisfied employee” category. They inhabit that middle ground, and they might even be doing more harm than good.
Employee engagement isn’t an impossible thing to achieve. It simply needs to be an organization priority and strategy. Every organization and organization’s needs differ; nevertheless, there are foundations to engagement in every company.
How do you improve employee engagement?
1. Conduct an employee survey. This can give you a bird’s-eye-view of global engagement in your organization as well as engagement within departments, age groups, locations and more.
2. Take down the obstacles. This might sound like a metaphor for something bigger-than-life. Really, it just means you need to keep your organization’s software up-to-date, ensure employees have comfortable chairs and office spaces to work, get rid of the sputtering lights, and all those other hassles that, really, interrupt an employee’s day. If you still have dial-up internet, you need reassess your tech.
3. Improve processes. Do you really need to call a meeting for that one thing? Probably not. Make meetings matter. Streamline administration processes. Simply put, stop wasting your employees’ time.
4. Improve communication. So often employees don’t receive the information they need. As George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest with communication is the illusion it has taken place.” Build an internal communication strategy.
5. Align each employees’ job with the organization’s mission and vision and communicate that to your employees. Alignment in the organization improves collaboration and a collective pursuit of company goals. When employees don’t have a clear understanding of how their job contributes to the overall goals of the organization, they can’t possibly understand their purpose.
6. Provide your employees with fair compensation for their work. This seems like it should go without saying, but we’re saying it because many organizations haven’t gotten the memo. This World Economic Forum article sums it up beautifully. Fair compensation best practices include transparency, providing meaningful benefits, ensuring minimum wage matches living wages of the area, disclosing indicators related to compensation, among other issues. Beware of salary compression.
100% employee engagement doesn’t happen anywhere; however, improving employee engagement with these six meaningful strategies is a great place to begin. (This goes for all organizations!)