The truth about employee engagement

Engaged employees are the key to business success. It’s clear that the more engaged your people are, the better off your company will be.

Below are five insights about employee engagement that you need to know if you’d like to create engaged teams and realise the benefits.

  1. The majority of your employees are likely to be disengaged

Most companies need to accept they have a problem on engagement. Yet most businesses I speak with don’t believe they have an issue. They claim that their companies are hitting the goals and that performance is in line with their average for their sector. However,  every year Gallup runs an engagement survey that shows that, on average, 64 percent of employees are disengaged. Odds are, unless you’re No. 1 in your sector, nearly two-thirds of your staff are disengaged. Not only that, but 15 percent are actively disengaged.

  1. Most of the money spent on engagement is wasted

Every year, companies are spending billions on employee engagement programs. Yet every year, the engagement figures roughly remain the same. In my opinion, it’s because these programs treat symptoms and not the actual root causes. They may have a temporary improvement, but over time their impact wanes.

Sustained improvements come through providing your team with opportunities, developing their skills and providing positive feedback and recognition for their efforts.

  1. Managers are responsible for disengagement

It’s so easy to blame the lack of engagement on the employees, and given that most programs are directed at employees, it would be fair to assume that this is where most businesses and HR departments feel the problem lies.

But according to Gallup, managers are the ones that have the most significant impact on engagement, accounting for around 70 percent of the variations in employee engagement scores. Let’s not forget that managers have direct impact on their teams, as most employees leave managers rather than companies.

In my view, engagement should be a manager’s primary goal because once that is achieved, everything else will follow.

  1. Managers are less engaged than employees

The big challenge is that managers are even less engaged than employees. In a 2015 survey by Gallup, the results indicated that 65 percent of managers are disengaged. Businesses would do far better if their programs focused on creating engaged leaders and managers, as this will then help develop a culture of engagement.

  1. Without empowerment, engagement is useless

Your problems don’t end just because you have an engaged team. Your teams need to be empowered as well as engaged. When groups are engaged, they want to achieve the results and goals that have been set for them. But when they are empowered, they have the resources and the tools necessary to achieve the results. This allows them to have the belief that they can be successful, and will help build unstoppable momentum.

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"....every year Gallup runs an engagement survey that shows that, on average, 64 percent of employees are disengaged"

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