Managing people

Engaged employees: watch them go the extra mile

Just how engaged employees are determines business performance. Your employees’ lack of engagement may surprise you, but the signs are quite visible.

A study on engaged employees by Gallup indicates that 70% of US workers aren’t engaged at work. 89% of managers believe their people leave for more money, yet only 12% do. In fact, 75% of those leaving do so because of their bosses!

Creating a workplace culture of engagement 

Creating an engaged workplace culture can be challenging but the benefits are quantifiable and tangible. Look around your workplace – if you have engaged employees you will see people who are satisfied, passionate and interested in what they do.

Highly engaged employees have more investment in the success of the business and have a high level of commitment and loyalty. They are great collaborators and are prepared to go the extra mile. Engaged, satisfied staff attract more of the same to your business. They are the reason your company is growing and can continue to prosper in the face of challenges. 

Without these engaged employees you lose important ambassadors of your company and brand, employees who ensure your company grows and remains profitable. You would lose the increased productivity and lower absenteeism, which are features of engaged employees. Turnover would be higher, attracting all the costs recruiting involves.

Engaged employee behaviours include performance at a higher level, which often leads to innovation in the workplace. Engaged employees’ productivity is also higher, and they are more efficient in their duties, lowering operating costs and increasing the profit margin and positively affecting the company’s bottom line.

Build an engaged culture across all organisational levels

What’s the current culture in your business across organisational, managerial and employee levels?

Do your mission, vision, and strategy support engagement? Identify opportunities, simplify solutions, take action, hold employees accountable and commit to developing your employees. 

Your goal is to build an engaged organisation with robust and genuine values, clear evidence of trust and equity based on mutual respect, where promises and commitments between employers and staff are two-way, understood and fulfilled.

Look at engagement at your managerial level. Good managers recognise the actions of senior leadership, managers, and supervisors are the key drivers of engagement. To harness this, clearly define the key drivers of engagement in every leader's job description and leadership skill set. Offer your team members clarity, appreciation, positive feedback and coaching.  

Do you have the right people in the appropriate leadership positions? Is leadership development an issue? Your answers will determine the course of action you take.

Finally, look at engagement at the employee level. Ensure you have the right employees in the right positions where they can thrive and grow. This will result in greater productivity and commitment to the organisation. Ensure your management and HR practices attract, engage, and retain workers of all ages.

The most engaged employees tend to have a good fit to their current job and their performance generally exceeds your expectations. These employees not only achieve their goals, but have the ability to elevate the performance of other employees, team members, departments, and divisions.

Building a team of the most engaged employees

Not all employees will necessarily bring the same loyalty, commitment and attitude to their roles or your organisation. The benefits your organisation will gain if you foster a culture of engagement across all parts of the business and build a culture of passionate drivers, is also clear.

Employee engagement is not a soft and fluffy, ‘nice to have’ requisite but a bottom line issue, impacting on a wide range of areas of business productivity and profitability. There is a firm correlation between employee engagement and high organisational productivity and performance.

As well as performance and productivity, employee engagement impacts positively on levels of absenteeism, retention, levels of innovation, customer service, and staff advocacy of the organisation. 

Even in turbulent economic times, employee engagement improves your organisation’s chances of continued success.

If you work at engaging your employees across all levels of your business, top to bottom, you will experience the wide-ranging and critically important benefits brought by employees who work harder, longer and smarter.

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