What does this Employee Engagement Crisis look like?

Most of us understand that we are living in disruptive times. Shifting regulations and compliance, expanded importance of diversity and inclusion, the dramatic increase in those suffering from mental health conditions, an increased desire for work-life harmony and an evolved approach to learning and development, to name but a few. Disruption is not exclusive to competition innovating faster than you and winning over your market share, it comes in all shapes and forms.

I’m not convinced that business leaders truly understand the gravity of this disruption on their modus operandi. The kind of disruption that we’ll be looking at in this article should be top of mind for any business leader or manager. The ensuing actions should be solely focused on retaining and motivating employees in your organisation.

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report shows that 51% of employed adults in the U.S. say they are searching for a new job. Mismanagement, cultural disconnections between generations, lack of acknowledgement, limited development and training opportunities and diminishing trust in their organisation are all contributing factors to the problem.

Even more concerning, of the 51% of employees that are looking for new opportunities (which is often done during company time), 47% are optimistic about their chances of finding new employment. The knock-on effect is that disengaged employees demotivate their colleagues, and drop their work and productivity standards. All the while your payroll keeps ticking over and you start to experience a diminishing return on investment.

How can you avoid this Crisis?

Peter Drucker, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of modern business management, has shown us that 85% of an employee’s effectiveness is based on the environment in which they work and only 15% is contributed towards their competence. Leaders and managers need to focus on creating better workplace ecosystems in order to produce higher levels of employee effectiveness and engagement.

I suspect that many leaders see disengaged employees as a soft issue, one that has always been corrected by traditional management styles and “HR”. Those days are most certainly behind us, and the generations that are entering the workplace today have a new perspective and a different set of priorities that make them unreceptive to traditional management styles.

Let’s take a look at some of the areas that leaders and managers can address to avoid being swept up in this employee engagement crisis.

Building roles around your employee’s strengths

Investing time and resources into building roles around employee strengths and crafting interesting growth opportunities will go a long way to improving engagement amongst your employees. Exceptional companies allow their people to move around within the organisation and find advancement opportunities inside the company before they consider looking elsewhere. There are many tools and services on the market today that will help you identify your employees’ strengths.

Identifying and communicating the positive impact of a role

Now more than ever before, employees are seeking meaningful work. Allocate time to identifying the positive impacts that a role has on the organisation, co-workers, customers and community. If this is done in tandem with building a role around strengths, identifying purpose becomes authentic and easier to achieve.

Promote and guide development amongst your employees

Tightly linked to meaningful work, is ones need to develop themselves and their skills. Create the space for employees to develop their professional interests. Better yet, if you can identify areas of professional interest and link them to future opportunities within the organisation, you’ll be inspiring employees to grow in the same direction as your business. Investment in this activity will cultivate a positive culture that bonds the people in your organisation.

Understanding and acknowledging your employees

Within Gallup’s study, it was found that only 30% of U.S. employees agree that they receive regular recognition for doing good work. Employees that do not feel adequately acknowledged are twice as likely to start looking for work opportunities outside of your organisation. This is especially true for high performing employees.

During the process of identifying strengths to build better roles, the opportunity to understand what is important to individuals in your organisation is ripe for the picking. By understanding what is important to your employees, you’ll be creating the space for some pretty amazing things to start happening within your organisation.

Committing to action 

If you truly want to engage your employees and retain talent for continued growth within your business, you’ll need to seriously consider what the research is identifying on a global scale. The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis by Gallup, tells us that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at their place of work. Where do your employees sit in relation to this statistic?

At OP Consulting, we specialise in identifying organisational challenges and implementing solutions that accelerate culture, employee engagement and productivity. We work with organisations to generate people data; allowing them to gain deeper insights into their organisation’s culture and better inform how they design their employee experience.