To Engage or Not To Engage…Employees Have a Choice

A man is puzzled over which choice to make

Never forget it. Employees can choose to be engaged and give it their all or not. They have a choice and so do you as an employer. You can choose to care about the level of employee engagement at your organization, conduct an assessment so you know just where you stand, and then directly address the areas where employee engagement drivers are low.

Why should you care? Here is what we learned from our research study of over 400 firms across eight industries. The level of engagement matters a lot to your bottom line.

We firmly believed that companies and teams who align their culture and talent with their strategy consistently outperform their peers. We knew that employee engagement was a significant factor in high performing companies. But the actual number results were quite astonishing:

• Highly aligned companies grow 58% faster and are 72% more profitable than unaligned companies and they outperform those companies at the employee engagement rate of 16.8-to-1.

It follows, then, that a high level of employee engagement correlates directly to an organization’s performance…in other words, its bottom line health now and into the future.

We recommend that you as a leader care a lot about how engaged your employees are and that you check out where your company stands vis-à-vis key employee engagement benchmarks. “Gut feel” is one way. You should have a pretty good sense of whether or not your workers are glad to come to work each day and show that by choosing to stay, expending discretionary effort and working collaboratively with their teams. A far better test, however, is to conduct an employee engagement survey that is properly introduced, effectively implemented, anonymous, and part of a top-down commitment to take action according to the results.

Employee engagement training may well be part of what you decide to do to improve your workers’ level of satisfaction. Somewhere along the line, however, you will find that your leaders need to be charged with ensuring that the company is run in accordance with these four important principles:

1. Relationships
People like to feel that they are working on teams where members support and trust one another. They value feeling connected to their coworkers and working toward a common and meaningful goal. Trusting relationships are built on mutual respect.

2. Mission
Employees want to know that what they do matters. They feel more engaged when they can see that the work they do is meaningful. It has a purpose beyond simply making money; the company and what it stands for will make something or someone better.

3. Rewards and Recognition
Employees should be very clear on what they are expected to do and how their performance will be measured. When they excel, they like to be appropriately appreciated. By the same token, they should be held accountable for sub-standard performance. Recognize and validate desired behaviors and have fair consequences for sub-standard work.

4. Knowledge Sharing
The best companies value transparency and information flow. They share information about company strategy to include and involve all employees. Information should be openly shared in both directions from top to bottom. This means that leaders must make a concerted effort to stay in touch with employees’ thoughts and ideas. This is the way to include everyone in the company vision and planning.

 

Take our free employee engagement health check to benchmark where you stand.

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