Gallup recently came up with interesting findings from a survey. Apparently, roughly 1/3 of American workers are actively engaged in their work. While that is better than the international employee engagement figure 13%, the data for American workers has not improved in the last ten years.
Engagement is crucial and not just something that is food for thought or armchair debates. Gallup also did analysis that shows the following:
- Employee engagement is so important that those companies in the top quartile of employee engagement are 21% more profitable than enterprises in the bottom quartile;
- This top quartile is also 17% more productive;
- It has 10% better customer ratings;
- There are 40% fewer case of absenteeism;
- Also, there are 70% fewer safety incidents.
It clearly is in the best interests of productivity to promote employee engagement. Gallup research has identified no less than 12 components of employee engagement, and that can make for rather sophisticated management training. Many companies simply do not have the time to do a 12-step employee engagement program and would prefer to concentrate on one major point. A basis for employee engagement, something that is going to clarify goals and objectives, is to enhance expectations.
Developing Expectations is Not That Difficult
Expectations are not the result of some highly complicated human behavior model. As a matter fact, some of the ingredients for exceeding expectations can be drawn from a Dale Carnegie course. It is suggested that collaboration is going to help.. Management engages with the employees by listening to what they say and gathering their input. Collaboration does more than make a subordinate feel respected. This person now has a little skin in the game because his or her contributions helped develop what is desired.
Real expectations have a challenge attached to them. Productivity relies on motivation and setting a high standard. Creating a bar that is too low means employees are going to be exerting minimal effort and you do not want that. Besides, setting high standards gives a manager the opportunity to be a more active coach and that helps overall performance in the long run.
The need for effective coaching cannot be understated. This is more than just checking into a person’s cubicle now and then. Coaching helps an employee better develop his or her strengths. A good coach knows when to reward and recognize a person. Knowing that praise will be given when it is due can motivate people to rise to the expectations.
A People Culture
One common theme you should notice emerging from all of this is the development of a people-oriented culture. Organizations who value their employees, including input as well as output, are going to be more successful in the long run. Those who feel valued are less likely to go looking for jobs elsewhere. They also feel more inclined to go one step beyond the ordinary for the sake of the team. Management must understand that cultivating employee engagement does not take place overnight. It is going to take more than just a workshop. What is necessary is management training which places emphasis on engaging employees and helping them meet expectations. This is a commitment in more than just words. Training development has had the resources necessary, but these are investments well spent. The return can be considerable.
That is not just rhetoric because Gallup’s findings substantiate the benefits to be derived. A common defect of bureaucracies is the feeling of no one noticing effort, and productivity being a waste of time. Organizations must get rid of any bureaucratic tendencies to survive in this modern economy. Cultivating employee engagement in a people culture is the best way to guarantee ongoing success.