My father was a sales executive for a fortune 500 company and my mother was a family therapist. My father pushed me, and my mother was the most caring person I have ever met. My father taught me how to work hard and my mother was constantly concerned about me, asking how I was feeling and if anything was wrong. It drove me nuts at the time but by chance, the combination of the two has helped me excel in leadership, especially when it comes to employee engagement. I will share the process I follow to consistently improve employee performance. Following these steps will help you improve employee engagement and performance and it costs next to nothing.
Most employees are not engaged. Most employees feel underappreciated. Most employees do not feel like they are involved in the company business decisions. That’s where you can come in and improve results.
Look at 2017 employee engagement statistics that back up these claims:
· 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged (Gallup)
· Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion
· 81% of employees would consider leaving their current role for the right offer (Hays)
· 71% of full-time state and local government workers are unhappy or disengaged with their jobs (Gallup)
Why does this matter?
· Highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability (Gallup)
· Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity (Gallup)
· Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales (Gallup)
· Teams that address engagement needs in their everyday work outperform bottom teams by an average 20% in sales and 10% in customer engagement (Gallup)
· 38% of unhappy workers admitted to listening in on a private conversation, 5% to drinking alcohol, 15% to taking naps, 9% to helping themselves to coworkers’ food in the fridge, 40% playing pranks on coworkers, 5% to watching Netflix and 2% to using the company credit card for personal purchases (Randstad)
So, by spending almost no money you can improve production, customer ratings, save money and retain more effective employees? Master employee engagement and you will be able to improve any team and be asset to any organization. The best part is that employee engagement is fun.
So how can organizations engage employees? For one, it starts with the manager. The manager has the biggest impact on whether an employee is engaged. As managers we control everything and can improve our team’s results by improving engagement.
I will post different ideas that managers can use to improve employee engagement, but it starts with one important decision. You must care more about your employees than you do about bottom line results. Yes, that sounds crazy but doing the former will lead to the latter. For example, your boss tells you your team needs to produce more closures. Your initial reaction may be to hold a meeting and tell the team to close more cases. This may work in the short term but is not the way to improve long term. Stop here and instead ask about what your employees need to get the job done. Then ask your team what they need to be more productive? What barriers are keeping them from doing their job? What ideas do they have to improve the processes? Listen and work harder than anyone to use their ideas and thoughts to improve the team. Then make sure to recognize the team for any ideas that leads to success (we will talk plenty about recognition later).
It sounds easy but there are several things we need to do to get the commitment we need. Idea one is for us as managers to commit to employee engagement. Once you decide to take this step you need to let your team know and start getting them involved. Talk to your team one on one and tell them your plan to focus on improving employee satisfaction. Let them know you need their help to improve the team. During this meeting you will be asking questions and listening. Here are some examples of questions you can ask.
What interests you?
How do you feel about your job?
How could we make this a better place to work?
What are your short and long-term goals?
What frustrates you at work?
What barriers prevent you from doing your job?
What do you see as the top goals for our workgroup?
How can I help you meet your goals?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What ideas do you have to improve the team?
Your goal should be to learn at least 1 thing about each employee that you can use to improve the group. End the conversation by telling the employee you are going to give their feedback some thought and try to find ways to incorporate their ideas into improving the team. Make sure you note each employee’s personal goals as well as any personal details they share, including names of family members, strengths, weaknesses and interests.
Potential roadblock: Make sure to listen. If you ask a question but don’t hear the answer, your employee may become even more frustrated than before. To avoid this, take notes and make sure you paraphrase your understanding back to the employee to make sure you are on the same page.
Compile the results and think about what you have learned. If you are already good at engaging the team you will probably get some great ideas just by asking. If your team fears you, you may need a few meetings and some time until you start getting any feedback. Give it a try and let me know if you have any trouble or unexpected results. You will use these results next time as we start putting our engagement plan into full action mode. Good luck and let me know how it goes.