Employee engagement has never been more important to achieve positive rates of retention that businesses need for productivity and growth.
Are Your Employees Willing to Go the Extra Mile?
Tips and strategies on engaging your employees is often a hot topic that we’re asked about often. Simply stated, engagement measures the willingness of employees to go the extra mile for the organizations in which they work. That “extra mile” effort becomes clear when an already productive worker volunteers to chip in on a new process improvement project needed in the department. It’s exemplified by a willingness to cover a shift for a co-worker that needs to care of a sick child. The opposite of engagement, of course, are employees who are working, but just going through the motions and not looking for ways to improve practices. With cases of extreme disengagement, we often see employees looking for reasons to skip out of work or even sabotage other employees when they get bored. Engagement is about capturing the internal motivation that exists within everyone and channeling it toward the goals of the organization.
Employee Engagement Decreases Turnover
Increasing employee engagement produces very real results. According to a recent Gallup study, for the first year in more than a decade, the percentage of engaged workers in the U.S. declined in 2021. Just over one-third of employees (34%) were engaged, and 16% were actively disengaged in their work and workplace, based on a random sample of 57,022 full- and part-time employees throughout the year. This compares with 36% engaged and 14% actively disengaged in 2020, a year with unprecedented highs and lows. These changes impact the bottom line by decreasing the operating margin and increasing turnover costs.
Although engaging your employees is never easy, here are some positive steps any organization can take:
- Get people involved in decision-making. Help individuals at all levels become more involved in making decisions on the things they impact. People will always be more committed to things they participate in creating, rather than being informed after the fact of changes and new methods that affect them.
- Share information broadly. Employees like to feel that they are informed and understand what the organization is trying to accomplish. When information is lacking, rumors and innuendo fill in the blanks and feed the opportunity for disengagement.
- Clarify the purpose of people’s work. Feeling as though they are a part of something bigger is a significant motivator for most people. Whenever they can see their connection to an ideal, a mission, or purpose, employees feel a greater sense of focus and motivation. It’s one thing to say you manufacture solenoids. It’s quite another to say you help produce the solenoids that make landing gear function safely for millions of passengers every day.
- Involve employees in continual development. An old adage says that it’s better to lose a trained employee than keep an untrained one. Employees who get bored are less likely to focus on the benefits of working with the company. Even if they are staying in the same position, employees who are growing and learning feel that they are making progress and achieving things that are valuable to them. This builds loyalty which is a key to engaging your employees.
By working on these four simple steps, any organization can tap into not only the minds, but the hearts of employees. Although an employee’s mind has great value to the organization, the heart is the real engine of engagement and motivation and can make the difference between a good company and a truly great one.