Employee engagement is the motivation, commitment, and loyalty of people working in order to further an organization’s interest. Top companies recognize how this tremendous force can bring customer satisfaction, able suppliers to productively be in involved in the company’s best interest, and consequently mean profitability as all the cogs operate in a synchronized manner.
From the top senior levels, management is obligated to show they care about employees. It is much more cost-effective to encourage job security, stability, and career growth in this troubling economy than it is just to offer employees raises. People are afraid to buy homes right now, even though they quality for mortgages, because people are afraid they may get fired or laid off from their jobs and careers. With those thoughts in mind, shouldn’t senior management work on motivating factors to help employees maintain their business loyalty and commitment?
Let’s start with the negatives. Employees are concerned with customer losses, layoffs, employee turnovers, and the extra work that has resulted from under-staffing. Mix into the brewing storm, inefficient systems, inflexible bureaucracy, and lack of intercommunication; rumors fly, and you now have unengaged employees who become very expensive for any company. From that negative comes lack of productivity, low self-esteem, and a breakdown of teamwork.
Senior management can lead with their vision and strategies in order to instill employee confidence. Senior leadership must motivate employees by nurturing career development, integrity, and dedication. Leaders can not just assume what factors motivate employees. Make employee engagement an important part of the process. Give employees the opportunity to provide feedback. Often they are the ones on the front lines, and isn’t that a good indicator of what needs to be heard? Go back to the 90?s and put a suggestion box for employees to drop a note. Have focus groups; consider an employee survey. Inform employees about goals, activities, and plans using newsletters or at the very least, use memos. Eliminate the unknown for employees.
In a recent Gallup poll of 1000 United States employees, the best way to encourage employee engagement was for managers to address employee performance. The Gallup poll showed employees whose review focused on their strengths were 61% engaged; reviews focused on employees weaknesses were 45% engaged, and those employees who were ignored were only 2% engaged. Negative feedback was better than no feedback at all, and when employee performance is articulated in positive measures, employees strive to do better.
Rewards are why people work. The bottom line is we work to get paid, but almost everyone wants to be recognized for their particular contributions, ideas, and work; some of us more than others, but the more engaged we become, the more important other factors besides just a paycheck matter in our lives. When management encourages us to “think out of the box” or to “go the extra mile for a customer,” employees who perform such outstanding work should be rewarded. Let’s face it; the more positive employee engagement, the more positive customer service, and the more company success.
photo credit: lululemon athletica