influences employee engagement

The Two Transformative Influences on Employee Engagement

While you want to believe your team is working towards your company goals, the truth is they might just be working in the dark. A recent Gallup poll has discovered 70 percent of workers are feeling a little less than engaged on the job.

Why are employees checking out? Likely because they can’t see how their daily efforts contribute to your company’s strategic goals. While you may think your company is crystal clear and extremely transparent, the cold reality is your people look at your organization as a maze of disjointed hierarchies.

While you may think your company is crystal clear and extremely transparent, the cold reality is your people look at your organization as a maze of disjointed hierarchies.

In fact, most of them can’t even name your company goals. In the “How Leaders Grow Today” survey by ClearCompany and Dale Carnegie, 43 percent of employees claimed to be familiar with company goals, yet couldn’t list any specifically. Your team needs more than the Cliff Notes version of how their contributions add value to the organization if you want a happy, engaged, and productive workforce.

Your company needs to turn on some lights, so employees can see how their efforts make a difference. Here are a couple tips to light the way towards alignment:

Improve Transparency

Transparency is the lightswitch you need to get your team moving together in the right direction. A survey by Fierce, Inc. asked 800 responders what practices were currently holding their company back. Nearly half of all respondents identified a lack of company-wide transparency and too little involvement in company decisions as problem areas keeping their organizations from thriving.

Helping employees “see” company-wide goals with easy visualization can ensure your best people are clued in and engaged, without constantly barraging employees with company messaging. With high levels of transparency, your team never has to wonder how their work contributes to overall company goals or how they add individual value. So it should come as little surprise the most effective communicators use more metrics while explaining goals, the same way talent alignment systems provide real-time tracking so employees can see their value.

Organizations which share information and encourage participation also have greater levels of employee trust. Employee trust is an important component when it comes to engagement and morale, which in turn both have huge impact on a company’s bottom line.

Just how much can employee engagement affect a company’s profits? Best Buy wanted to find the answer, so they tracked the influence of employee engagement at a specific store. What they found was an increase of only .1 percent had a substantial impact. At the store in question, this tiny uptick in engagement equaled more than $100,000 additional funds in the store’s annual operating budget.

Make Real-Time Adjustments

Sometimes in business you need to make a big pivot to be successful. This is why the ability to make real-time adjustments is so important. Unfortunately, less than one third of surveyed employees felt their company would be willing to change practices or directions based on employee feedback.

The ability to pivot has been instrumental in the successes of multiple businesses, including Twitter. The 140 character microblogging service started life as Odeo, a podcasting platform. In 2005, Odeo got some bad news when Apple officially moved into the podcasting arena. Without a clear backup plan, the 14 member team at Odeo began working full-time on a pivot, including hosting “hackathons” where members worked on concepts. One such concept was a status update platform, which eventually became the massively popular Twitter.

Without real-time tracking, it’s tough to see what your best people are working on and working towards. Employees feel like they can’t provide feedback and executives don’t understand how to motivate teams to do their best work. By tracking progress in real-time, you can make adjustments and stop small problems from snowballing into huge challenges.

You can also better play to the strengths of your best employees if you can see where they excel in their workflow and where they’re falling short. After all, an article in Human Capital Review by Robert Biswas-Diener and Nicky Garcea explains how highly engaged employees report using their strengths 70 percent of the time in their day-to-day work. According to this report, by taking a strengths-based approach to managing your employees you can expect at least a 36 percent increase in performance.

By taking a strengths-based approach to managing your employees you can expect at least a 36 percent increase in performance.

Playing to the strengths of your team means higher engagement and productivity. Real-time adjustments also mean you can stop goal deterioration and work cascading in the wrong direction. Since you can see your team’s work, you can keep everyone focused on your company goals. From the employee perspective, tracking their own progress means they can take ownership of work while still being able to see how their contributions align with overall corporate strategy.

It’s time to light the way for your employees, so they’re not fumbling in the dark and missing your goals. Transparency, tracking, and real-time adjustments can help keep your team aligned and engaged, so everyone is heading in the right destination.

What do you think? What are some ways you light the way towards alignment? Share in the comments!

 

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Copyright: nikkytok / 123RF Stock Photo

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and at http://blog.clearcompany.com/

  • reply Why Should We Be Thinking About Happiness At Work right now? | performance~marks ,

    […] The Two Transformative Influences on Employee Engagement cites a recent research studies that show that while 70% of staff currently feel less than engaged in work, just a 1% increase in employee engagement can yield $100,000 increase in revenue.  In another study less than one third of surveyed employees felt their company would be willing to change practices or directions based on employee feedback.  The author’s study discovered that 43% of employees claimed they knew what their company’s goals but were but were unable to name any specifically, and concludes… […]

    • reply Ben Simonton ,

      Great issue Andre. But the cause of not being engaged or poor retention or low morale is always the same – employees do not feel respected or valued.

      Likewise, the cause of that is always the same, a management who thinks their job is to direct the creation of products and services. But the truth is that management’s job is to lead employees to be highly motivated, highly committed and fully engaged Superstars who are emotionally driven to throw everything they have at their work.

      Why? Because Superstar employees are fully capable of deciding what to do and how to do it in order to create the very best products and services.

      Employees can be led to be this way, but attempts to direct them to be this way result in extremely poor performance. Unfortunately, leadership is wildly misunderstood because the leadership industry focuses on what leaders do and not what followers follow or how they react to what management does and does not do.

      • reply Gary B Cohen ,

        Two issues for me. It’s not about your team trusting you. It begins with you trusting your team. As it relates to Best Buy the sample and results are much too small to represent a plausible validation to support your theory.

        • reply The Two Transformative Influences on Employee Engagement | Switch and Shift | Bryce Kramm ,

          […] Source: switchandshift.com […]

          • reply joanncorley ,

            I must say Ben — what a great quote! “…the leadership industry focuses on what leaders do and not what followers follow…” in essence what attracts and engages most of which begins with the working rapport of the boss/follower. Bottom line — no matter what leadership or strategic “tactics” are employed, if an employee does not have their fundamental human needs met, they (tactics, strategies) will have minimal effect at best. What are those needs?… being respected, feeling relevant and valued. It starts with the one/one relationship and is reinforced with the company culture. Consider Zappos as an example. I recently interviewed one of their recruiters in light of their new talent management strategy of eliminating job boards. Their “human-centric” culture is one to be learned from. The interview: http://www.joanncorleyspeaks.com/2014/05/is-it-time-to-shut-down-your-job.html

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