Put me in Coach!
Employee engagement is the mutual commitment between employees and the organization. We love engaged employees because they are involved and enthusiastic about their work and they are emotionally invested in helping the organization achieve its goals. Engaged employees are more loyal, productive, and willing to give discretionary effort – meaning, they are willing to go above and beyond to help their employer. From the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workforce report , we know that approximately 33% of employees in our organizations are engaged. However, 51% of our employees are disengaged, meaning they are productive, but they are not passionate about their work. Disengaged employees show up to work to get a paycheck and not much else. They are not intellectually or emotionally connected to the organization, and yet the majority of employees fall into this category.
Even worse are the actively disengaged employees within our organizations. The remaining 16% of our U.S. employees fall into the category of “actively disengaged.” They may be physically present at work, but they are emotionally disconnected and they have no desire to be productive. This group of employees is not concerned about the quality of their work, about safety, and they are more likely to steal from their employer. They often arrive late, leave early, and call out of work unexpectedly. Worse than all of that, they complain loudly and frequently to anyone who will listen and they engage in behavior to undermine their engaged colleagues. They do not care about the future of your organization and they have no problem sharing their opinion.
Have you seen the YouTube video by the Employee Engagement Group “ Who’s Sinking Your Boat ?” If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Yes, it shows data from 2013, but the premise is valid and the data is not that far off from the most recent research. The video uses the metaphor of a crew team boat to illustrate employee engagement statistics. If a 10-person crew team reflected the data on employee engagement in the workplace – today – it shows 3 rowers busting their butts (engaged), while 5 rowers are watching the scenery (disengaged), and 2 rowers are actively trying to sink the boat (actively disengaged)!
So, what drives employee engagement? Most of our leaders intuitively know the answer to this question, but because of the pace of business and keeping up with their own work, focusing on employee engagement is often an afterthought… or not a thought at all. The leaders who are rewarded with the highest level of employee engagement make the employee experience a priority. The employee experience is shaped as follows:
- Knowing what is expected of them at work.
- Knowing that their opinions count.
- Knowing that they have opportunities to learn and grow.
- Having someone at work who encourages their development.
- Having had a conversation about their (development) progress within the last six months.
- Recognition and praise.
Let’s not forget that our organizational leaders are also employees and their level of engagement has a tremendous impact on the organization and employees – positive or