A Five Step Approach to Improve Employee Engagement
By Karen Bentley
‘Tis the season for those employee engagement scores to start rolling in. Is this something you look forward to as a leader, or do you experience angst as you think about how to make this year different – one where you can build an employee engagement plan with confidence; knowing that your efforts and the efforts of your team will move the needle in meaningful way.
By way of background, the cost of a disengaged workforce ranks in the billions of dollars. It costs billions of dollars in lost productivity and turnover.
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workforce Report, The American workforce has more than 100 million full-time employees. One-third of those employees are what Gallup calls engaged at work. They love their jobs, enjoy their teams and customers, contribute, have great ideas, believe in the mission, feel their job uses their strengths — and they make their organization and America better every day. At the other end, 16% of employees are actively disengaged — they are miserable in the workplace and seem to exist only to destroy what the most engaged employees are building. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged — they’re just there.
This means that 67% of employees are either actively or passively disengaged at work.
So how do organizations begin to tackle this pervasive and costly problem? Well, rather than talking about employees as a monolithic “them”, leaders and managers must understand that we engage our employees one at a time, individually, based on their unique aspirations, motivations, and styles.
In this month’s blog, I lay out for you a five step approach on how to effectively address employee engagement, with the goal of getting you thinking about how to approach the engagement process in a different and more impactful manner.
First: make engagement a true strategic priority. The key question to executives is “Are you willing to make this a top strategic priority and invest the time and money necessary to do it right, or are you just giving lip service to employee engagement?”
Next: collect data. Utilizing robust and validated assessment tools, isolate the drivers of engagement by unit, gender, and generation; customize your engagement solutions based on those results; then track progress over time, with results tied to performance review measurements.
Third: set goals – organization wide, by unit, and by sub-set (i.e. generation, gender)
Four: focus on the manager. Hold managers accountable, reward them, and support them to have success. Train them by coaching to reinforce results and focusing on the managers with the most opportunity and that the organization wants to retain.
And finally, implement structural changes to enable change. This includes:
- • Performance Review Criteria
- • Compensation
- • Roles
- • Rewards
- • Recruiting Strategies
- • Other – depending on what is getting the way of engagement