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Fluffy Facts

Optimize Blog - May 9, 2016 - 0 comments

Lots of companies are doing lots of things in the name of employee engagement and there is plenty of research out there to give them good reason to do so. Depending on which study you read, anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of employees can be classified as neutral, ambivalent, or agnostic. Worse yet, an alarming 10 to 20 percent of employees are actively disengaged creating a clear drag on the organization both in terms of culture and the negative impact on business performance.
Just talking to someone on the telephone or face to face in a shop can provide clear evidence of those employees that are engaged and those that are not. We certainly prefer to deal with those that are engaged as the experience is so much better – proof perhaps that engaged teams can really drive value for their organization.
There are many definitions of engagement and all generally refer to how an employee feels and to many, this just seems a little bit fluffy….. But when we consider if the level of engagement in the workplace would be readily apparent to a visitor from the outside, the impact is anything but fluffy. The reality is that we don’t like to buy from people clearly disengaged from their job or company.
So, engagement is an observable behavior. You can observe levels of excitement and energy, you can witness people going the extra mile to solve our issues. On the other hand, workplace behaviors indicative of low engagement are equally visible like treating customers as an interruption, ‘jobs-worth’ attitudes or a complete lack of desire to establish any empathy with the customer.
The general principles of employee engagement have been around for decades and there seems no lack of consulting firms eager to demonstrate engagement or otherwise in your organization. There is also no lack of organizations proudly stating that their employees are their biggest asset and yet the experience of dealing with many of these organizations demonstrates a serious lack of engagement and this is where the fluffy bits start to get real…….
The positive relationship between engagement and performance demonstrates the fact that the higher the level of engagement, the higher the performance of the business. The research is not inconclusive, it’s overwhelming. When organizations have engaged employees, the long-term benefits appear in the bottom line. Organizations have more satisfied and loyal customers, increased profits, better-quality products or services, and greater growth potential.
The key for us for driving engagement is exceptional leadership. Leaders have the influence and power to serve as catalysts for higher levels of engagement. Great leaders understand that it’s not about exerting control but rather providing a clear vision of what they want to achieve. They provide a detailed purpose of what the team is there for and how they can measure the team’s success. It’s also about recognition for a job well done, giving people the room and encouragement to grow, providing honest and open feedback and holding people accountable for their performance.
To help them, leaders need aligned systems and processes that support and enable the drive for greater engagement like hiring, orientation, career ladders, performance management, recognition, compensation, training, and personal development.
The bottom line is that if you move the needle on engagement then you move the needle on business performance……..sound like a plan to us.

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