In a recent study done by Dale Carnegie Training we learned that 26% of the national workforce is “disengaged” and 29% are “fully engaged”. That then means that about ¾ of employees are not fully engaged. When the fact remains that research consistently correlates low employee engagement with poor performance, this equals a big problem for businesses. According to a Taleo Research project, it has been found that employees who are highly engaged are 2X more likely to be top performers.
So we get it, employee engagement does great things for an organization and disengaged employees can end up costing the organization in a big way. How do leaders prevent the “I hate my job” epidemic?
In a Forbes article on the topic, we learn that the number one factor influencing employee engagement was the employees’ relationship with their immediate supervisors. It’s pretty logical that factors influencing employee engagement start at the top and trickle down. Employers have spent countless dollars on finding out what makes their workers tick, and it turns out they’re it, they themselves are the difference.
Here are some ideas from the leaders in employee engagement. These are some ways to improve employer-manager relationships, which is the driving factor in engagement at work.
DHL Does It Through Recognition and Appreciation
DHL Express was actually awarded for their employee appreciation programs. At the Executive Recognition Summit, DHL was chosen over several other companies for the implementation of their employee engagement and recognition programs with an emphasis on customer-focused culture.
DHL put a lot of money and focus on raising their employee engagement scores in plants and offices around the nation. With the national average of engaged employees at 29%, DHL strives for the goal of scores in the top quartile. They found that placing emphasis on thanking employees for their work actually works! Who would have thought? Their gratitude is shown through monetary rewards, annual events with awards for top performers or even simple notes of appreciation.
SAP Does it by Articulating the “Why”
When we were young and our parents told us to do something –anything really, we would ask, “Why?” We eventually learn to stop asking why, but that curiosity never really goes away, and SAP gets that. Employees need to see the big picture and their purpose within that picture in order to get and stay engaged. In a post from SAP on employee engagement, Vala Afshar says, “Employees are engaged when they understand the purpose behind direction and destination. Share with employees where you’re going and why.”
Southwest Airlines Does it by Living the Brand
The Southwest brand is one of the most recognizable around. Customers know exactly what they’ll see, get and experience when they do business with Southwest, and perhaps more importantly, so do their employees. Forbes contributor on global talent management issues, Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith says, “A strong employment brand that offers clarity on the organization culture and what it stands for ensures that the right people are attracted to the organization and the wrong people apply elsewhere.
These are just a few of the successful practices from employee engagement leaders. Organizations have so many options to get employees engaged like ongoing training, career path development and social interactions outside of work. The following is a quote that sums up our feelings pretty well on the topic of employee engagement from Don Seidman.“The frequency of lunches, performance reviews, volunteer program outings and team-building exercises does not produce higher levels of employee engagement. Employee engagement is determined by the quality and meaningfulness of these interactions, and the journey managers are enlisting their employees to engage in.”