Stop What You’re Doing – Engage Your Employees!

Leaders and managers — stop what you’re doing – focus and engage!. You’re looking at a whirlwind of challenges and problems that seemingly feed on each other as you drown in an ocean of HR calamities:

  • It takes too long to hire someone
  • You can’t attract the talent you need
  • New employees are bogged down in your onboarding process
  • It’s a pain and struggle to do your performance reviews in a timely manner
  • Employees complain about their performance reviews
  • Some of your best employees are leaving
  • Your CEO wants to know about your team’s succession plans…and you don’t have any.

There seems to be a different employee-related crisis or problem everywhere you turn.

But there could be one central problem that is at the crux of many of your issues.

Employee Engagement is Low

Research analyst Bersin by Deloitte recently reported that “engagement is still startling low” after remaining low for several years. Worldwide, just 13% of employees are “highly engaged“ in their jobs.

What could be worse than that sobering statistic? How about these – 63% of employees are “disengaged” and 24% are “actively disengaged” (caveat – Australia and New Zealand employees are twice as engaged as the rest of the world, with 25% “highly engaged” – still, just 1 out of 4!).

In far too many organizations, workers think their employers’ leadership is poor, there are limited career opportunities at their organizations, and they are not crazy about their organization’s culture or their own work-life balance.

It gets worse — according to Glassdoor and Bersin by Deloitte, just 54% of employees would recommend their company or organization to a friend. So about 1 out of 2 people, if offered the chance, would not recommend a friend come work with them!

Fix Engagement to Fix a Lot

While it’s too simplistic to say that employee engagement is the root of all employee-related ills within an organization, it’s not too simplistic to say better engagement could fix a lot.

What if your employees were so enthusiastic about your organization that they not only would recommend a friend, but they would proactively try to lure their friends to come work with them? That would mean most of your top talent is staying put and you have a lot easier time attracting quality talent.

If your employees felt more engaged, performance reviews would not likely be a problem. Employees and their managers would be on the same page regarding performance, career goals and the organization’s ability to help employees achieve their goals, to the benefit of the employees and the organization. No more emails or calls to managers imploring them to get their reviews done.

An Engaged Organization

While the above statistics are sobering, the flip side is that the numbers are not 100% — which means there are companies and organizations that are doing things the right way in terms of employee engagement. These organizations are achieving great success by ensuring ongoing employee engagement.

By getting engagement right, they automatically eliminate so many other issues from becoming problems. The Harvard Business Review noted that “people want to come to work, understand their jobs, and know how their work contributes to the success of the organization” – get that right and you can fix a lot. At a high level, the Harvard Business Review reported that highly engaged organizations have double the rate of success of lower engaged organizations, along with lower absenteeism and lower turnover.

What to Do

It won’t happen overnight and there are many things to consider, evaluate and ultimately implement, but here are some things leaders, managers and HR professionals can do right away to begin their journey to a more engaged workforce.

  • Ongoing feedback. Don’t wait for the dreaded annual performance review. Stop in to your employees’ office today, or send an email, or send your entire team an email and tell them….anything! Great job on that last project, okay job, crappy job – let ‘em know! Or…the company’s doing great – or okay, or times are tough. Bring them into the team’s and organization’s mission. Make them feel part of something bigger.
  • Set goals. You know that goal you talked about with your employees 8 months ago during the annual performance review? They probably aren’t thinking about it as they walk through the door today. Set some shorter term goals via short-term projects and provide some immediate feedback.
  • Coach ‘em up. You told one of your employees to be more careful in his or her research, and the employee is doing a little better, but not great? Tell the employee today how he or she has improved, but also how they can be even better. Don’t wait a year.

The Technology Boost

The engagement problem many organizations face today is, at the center, a people problem, involving communication, leadership, training and more. While people, the heart of an organization, ultimately will drive change and improve engagement, technology is a key component of this people-led change. Technology, coupled with organizational data, is really a prerequisite and the basis for improvements in employee engagement for today’s large organizations.

The right technology will assist leaders and employees on their journey to becoming a fully engaged organization and one that people want to work for. Capabilities exist to assist with ongoing and relevant interaction such as skill assessment, goals, competencies, performance, career paths and more. With this detailed information embedded into the system, the people part of the process becomes much easier – and very doable. This information also forms an extensive database of valuable information that can be analyzed in numerous ways to gain further insight into the workforce. The resulting talent analytics provides further fuel to employee engagement and meaningful interaction.

The research confirms — engagement improves organizational performance. Technology will help improve your ongoing engagement.

Begin Your Journey

It might seem obvious that better and ongoing engagement is beneficial to an organization, but based on the data, apparently it’s not. Or it’s being ignored anyway. Bersin by Deloitte talks about The Simply Irresistible Organization – the enlightened organization that integrates meaningful work, great management, fantastic work environment, growth opportunity and trust in leadership. You can get there.

You can’t change your organization’s culture in a day. But you can start the journey today.

Stop what you’re doing – go engage…today.

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