Keys to Employee Engagement
in my recent research as a motivational speaker preparing for an upcoming conference, I came across an astounding fact: 52% of US employees are not engaged at work. (Gallup poll January 2016) That’s a whole lot of unhappy people, let alone enormous loss of productivity.
Gallup categorizes workers as “engaged” based on their ratings of key workplace elements that predict important organizational performance outcomes, such as having an opportunity to do what they do best each day, having someone at work who encourages their development and believing their opinions count at work.
Traveling across the country speaking to corporations and associations, I’ve heard a lot of whining in the workplace about one thing in particular: bosses. Bosses that don’t listen, bosses that manage with rigid rules, bosses that play favorites and bosses that take all the credit. What I’ve found is that people join companies but they leave bosses.
In my speeches on super-charging productivity, I emphasize the power of nice. Having the right attitude of being humble, likable and teachable wins fans and influences people – even bosses. Business is all about building great relationships. Nurture team relationships by being the ‘go to’ guy who is always ready to help, offer constructive suggestions to your manager in a non-threatening way, volunteer to work on a project, be innovative about learning new things and share with team members.
Nice gets noticed in a good way. Whining – not so much.
If you’re a boss reading this, here’s your essential takeaway: never underestimate the value of appreciation. Praise and encourage employees for their efforts regardless of success rate. Management expert/author/speaker Marcus Buckingham conducted a survey of the top Fortune 500 companies in the USA and said the #1 reason people leave companies is because they feel unappreciated. I spoke to a company in Dallas that had 500 employees with almost zero staff turnover in the past twenty years. The reason? Each employee said they felt like part of a family with a common purpose because they were treated with courtesy and respect from the CEO on down. Great relationships.
Being engaged at work means staying focused. Staying focused requires liking what you’re doing. If you’re not doing what you like, ask. Ask your boss to work on projects that utilize your best skills. Most managers will take advantage of a win-win situation whereby the employee experiences more job fulfillment and the company gains with improved productivity.
Employee engagement: it all starts with YOU!