Employee engagement: hard but possible goal to achieve

free-i-love-my-jobAmong different definitions out there I like the one that says:

“Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.”

In every organization you can find employees who fall in any of these 3 categories:

  • Engaged: employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.
  • Not-Engaged: employees are essentially “checked out”. They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time — but not energy or passion — into their work.
  • Actively Disengaged: employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish. These employees are emotionally disconnected from their companies and may actually be working against their employers’ interests; they are less productive, are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.

According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace: 2010-2012 report, employee engagement levels remain stagnant among U.S. workers in the last 12 years. By the end of 2012,

  • only 30% of American workers were engaged, or involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their workplace.
  • 70% of American workers are not showing up to work committed to delivering their best performance: 52% are not engaged, and another 18% are actively disengaged.

Source: Gallup’s State of the American Workplace: 2010-2012 report

There is a joke out there that says: “A CEO was asked how many people work in his company: ‘About half of them,’ he responded.” Funny joke at the beginning, but if you think on the numbers I showed before you are going to start worrying about your company and your team performance.

So, how to increase the numbers of fully engaged employees in your company? How can avoid “sloganeering” and make a real difference?

“Two way commitment and communication between members of a team, accompanied by setting goals that encourage massive and persistent action is the key to get team members engaged, motivated and performing at extraordinary level of quality”

This is the answer I got from Sebastian Pereyro, CEO of Empirical and entrepreneur with more than 14 years of experience working in software development in big corporations like Motorola, Google and Disney when I asked him: what is your strategy to have members of your team being fully engaged in the quality of your business?

He highlighted that “because every person has its own needs, we have to TALK with and LISTEN to them; in other words GIVE and RECEIVE on a regular basis. I often share what the company, customer or the project is expecting from them, making sure that the goal and the expected results are clear. I share constructive feedback about performance in a positive manner. I ask the team for feedback about how we are doing; how they are feeling working the way we do and what we can do to help each other to grow professionally and advance in our roles.

One key to encourage fully engaged team members is to give them full responsibility over their roles -empowerment, promoting trust and confidence; and help them take on activities that exceed their current level of skills and capabilities; so they can grow on every project or activity they take on. That is the most motivational tool to increase productivity and well-being of the entire organization.

I like Simon Sinek phrase that says: Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.

This is the future of the world economy; this entrepreneur mindset, that comes with fresh and innovative ideas, is what will make any workforce to be fully engaged with the quality of any organization.

I highly recommend you to read the entire report from GALLUP mentioned above; it will help you understand the situation of the workforce in USA and give you tools to implement in your daily job.

To finish, a phrase from Douglas Conant CEO of Campbell Soup Co.:

“To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace”

Share your thoughts with me!


Source: Gallup, “State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders”. Download the report from Gallup website.

[Image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

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