Since 2000, Gallup Research has measured employee engagement in the U. S. on an annual basis. Engaged employees are defined as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work. In 2014, only 31.5% of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs.
This means that almost 70% of employees were NOT engaged in their work. As a business owner, this number is staggering and upsetting.
If employees are not engaged at work, there are huge potential risks for businesses: the risk of losing clients due to poor customer service; the risk of costly mistakes; the risk of demotivating other employees; the risk of high turnover; and the obvious risk of paying for a non-productive employee. It is estimated that disengaged employees cost the U.S. $350 billion each year in lost productivity.
According to Dale Carnegie, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. Employee engagement is more than just happiness; engagement is an emotional commitment to the organizations and its goals.
As a business leader, how do you increase employee engagement on your own team?
Start at the top. Senior leadership must demonstrate the behaviors that are desired for the employees. Employees need to believe in their leaders.
Transparency. Openness shows trust. Management transparency is critical to employee engagement.
Manage by Walking Around. Don’t just sit in your office; be on the floor and in the action. Get to know your employees and understand their job. Engage with them and they are more likely to engage.
Get rid of toxic employees. Every organization has had a toxic employee that zaps morale and hurts production. If you can’t solve the employee issue quickly, then it may be time to detox the environment.
Use the right employee engagement survey. Ask questions that are relevant and specific. And once you receive the opinions from employees, you must act on the data.
Promote pride in company. Every employee should add value to the organization. Acknowledge that value and allow them to have pride in their work and their contribution to the larger goal.
Employee engagement is vital to a company’s growth. Having an engaged workforce adds to the bottom line and increases customer loyalty. And as a business leader, that is worth the effort to ENGAGE.
Lee Yarborough and her father, Braxton Cutchin, founded the company in 1996. She has served on the Board of Directors of NAPEO and currently serves as the Chair for the NAPEO Carolinas Leadership Council. In 2015, she was named a Fellow of the eleventh class of the Liberty Fellowship Program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Lee also serves on the Executive Board of Public Education Partners and is the founder and director of Read Up Greenville, a young adult and middle grades book festival in downtown Greenville, SC.