Engaging your Employees

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 whoare 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 Gallup study, a hospital was suffering from negative issues leading up to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. After a concerted effort to improve employee engagement, performance improved dramatically, with overall turnover falling from 22% to 15% and worker’s compensation claims falling from 18 annually to only seven within a three-year timespan.  These changes impacted the bottom line by increasing the operating margin and decreasing turnover costs by at least $1.7 million.

Although engaging your employees is never easy, here are some positive steps any organization can take:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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 motivation and can make the difference between a good company and a truly great one.

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