Gallup’s 2016 survey results have shed light on how poor engagement is in the workplace. If only 13% of workers feel engaged, there are serious consequences for productivity, turnover, and team effectiveness. Managers may be instrumental in encouraging employees and helping them improve their levels of engagement. Gallup (2016) focuses on 12 elements that are important to having effective and productive workers, which include:
- They know their job expectations
- They have the right materials and equipment
- They have opportunities to do what they do best
- They have regular recognition or praise
- They believe someone at work cares about them
- Someone at work encourages their development
- Their opinions count
- Their job is important to achieving the company’s mission
- Their co-workers are committed to quality work
- They have a best friend at work
- Someone talks to them about their progress
- They have opportunities to learn and grow
If managers and leaders had a conversation with their employees about these 12 areas, they could determine where employees lack engagement. Employees may simply lack clarity regarding what is expected of them. If leaders understand this, they can create engaging conversations to help improve communication. It all begins by asking questions and opening a dialogue.
Because there are so many areas where employees may experience issues with engagement, it may be helpful to take on each area one at a time. Perhaps begin a conversation about job expectations this week and spend the month working on that if that is problematic. Next month consider asking questions about their materials or opportunities, etc. Take some time to get to know each person’s individual needs. Have a plan to meet with employees and follow up on any information obtained that indicates improvement is required.
Keep in mind that engagement involves emotional commitment, and people base 70% of how they make decisions on factors that involve emotions. Leaders must recognize the importance of focusing on feelings and emotions because that impact how employees behave and the choices they make. By increasing engagement or emotional commitment, organizations found less absenteeism, less turnover, and improved productivity. The key is to recognize that leaders have the most impact on employee engagement. Employees do not leave companies; they leave their bosses or leaders.
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