Gallup tells us that 87 percent of global employees are disengaged. That’s a bit alarming. How did this happen? Have we gotten blindsided by creating such efficient business processes that we have engineered the meaning out of work?
Now, think about this.
What if we were able to flip that number and have a work force that was 87 percent engaged? What if you could OutMatch the competition by nurturing that existing talent? That would certainly put your company on the map!
Tom Rath, author of “Fully Charged,” has a theory about happiness. He says that if you seek happiness, you won’t find it. However, if you seek meaning, you will find happiness. The same applies to engagement. If you seek engagement directly, you may not find it. If you lead people to find meaning, perhaps you will.
Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, once said in an interview, “One of the things that I’m fascinated about generally is the rise and fall of everything from civilizations to families to companies. There are very few examples of even 100-year old companies. For us to be a 100-year old company where people find deep meaning at work, that’s the quest.”
So, what will it take for organizations to help people find that kind of meaning in their work?
First, you need to determine who is engaged and who is not. Start here:
- Use the right employee engagement survey. Any survey data must be specific, relevant, and actionable. Data should also be proven to influence key performance metrics.
- Focus on engagement at all levels of the organization. Managers and employees must feel empowered to make a significant difference in their immediate environment. Leaders and managers should work with employees to identify barriers to engagement and opportunities to effect positive change.
- Select the right managers. Great managers care about their people’s success. Whether hiring from outside or promoting from within, businesses that scientifically select managers have better odds of engaging their employees.
- Hold managers accountable for driving engagement. Companies should coach managers to take an active role in building engagement plans with their employees, hold managers accountable, track their progress, and ensure that they continuously focus on emotionally engaging their employees.
- Define engagement goals in realistic, everyday terms. To bring engagement to life, leaders must make engagement goals meaningful to employees’ day-to-day experiences. Help them to describe what success looks like.