“The Great Resignation” is something that we are hearing and reading about on a regular basis. Now, more than ever, employees are leaving their roles at an amazing rate – in May of 2021 alone, 3.6 million Americans quit their jobs. According to Gallup, “48% of America’s working population is actively job searching or watching for opportunities”.
While the term ‘employee engagement’ can sound like just another buzzword, it’s anything but. For U.S. employers, the lack of employee engagement is estimated to result in $450 – 500 billion in lost productivity on an annual basis. For over 20 years, Gallup has been researching employee engagement and the percentage of engaged employees has barely budged in the United States during this timeframe. Based on 2021 research, Gallup has reported that 36% of U.S. workers are engaged, 49% are not engaged, and 15% are actively disengaged.
What is Employee Engagement?
What exactly is employee engagement? According to Gallup, an engaged employee is one who is “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace”. Someone who is experiencing this type of engagement is most likely to be aligned with their team and organization’s goals and making key contributions to producing desired results. Organizations that do the best job of creating employee engagement achieve earnings-per-share growth greater than 4 times that of their competitors. Additionally, other business boosting results are enjoyed by those companies who exemplify employee engagement. These include higher customer engagement, increased productivity, lower attrition, and higher profitability.
A Simple Approach
There are a multitude of methods available for increasing employee engagement with varying ranges of complexity, time commitment and cost. Yet, the solution may be simpler than you think. When we talk about employee engagement, we often speak in generalities. It can sound as if there is a group called “employees” that we must direct something towards collectively. A one size fits all approach has less of an opportunity to positively drive your engagement levels than one simple opportunity that many leaders have, at every level, including the C-suite. This opportunity, the key to engaging employees, is to get specific about each person.
One Employee at a Time
Engaging employees happens one person at a time. The place to start is to get to know each person on your team uniquely. How much do you already know about each employee and what makes that person tick?
How many of these questions can you answer right now about each employee on your team?
- What are their career aspirations?
- What personal aspirations do they have?
- What motivates them?
- What are their most important values?
- What key strengths do they bring to the team?
- What type of behavioral style do they favor?
- What professional development needs do they have?
Call to Action
As you begin the new year, if you can’t answer all of these questions for each employee, I invite you to make it a priority to schedule 1:1 meetings to discover those answers. Then, look for the opportunities to:
- let them use their strengths each day,
- take on assignments that build the skills for their future career path,
- communicate with them in a way that matches their style.
Your employees want to work in jobs that allow them to do what they do best, to grow and develop professionally, and feel a sense of purpose in what they focus on each day. What drives engagement and motivation is unique to each individual. So, get started by getting to know your team. Look for ways to align what is important to each person with the work they are doing, and watch your results begin to shift.
If you would like support in increasing employee engagement in your organization, please contact me to have a conversation. We offer a simple yet powerful and practical methodology to support you in improving employee engagement.