Hot Topic-- Employee Engagement

The good news is that, according to the latest Gallup survey at the end of 2014, employee engagement in the US is at its highest level since 2000 but it still isn’t good. Here’s what they found:

31.5% of employees are engaged
51% are not engaged
17.5% are actively disengaged

It is estimated that disengaged workers cost the US economy approximately $300 billion in lost productivity annually. Employee engagement corresponds to the level of the staff members’ commitment and connection to the organization they support. High levels of engagement translate to increases in customer satisfaction, employee retention and productivity.

One way organizations can gauge whether or not their employees are engaged is by doing employee surveys or by holding focus groups to ask questions around how employees are feeling about the work, the organization, and its leadership. Leaders and managers who listen carefully to their employees in meetings or in one on one situations have a much better chance of having engaged employees than those who aren’t good listeners.

The Big Book of HR (available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble) has an entire chapter on employee engagement. Included is a sample engagement survey that you may find useful as you attempt to understand your current employee population and what’s important to then.

One of the things that fuels employee engagement is when people are proud of where they work. Being a good corporate citizen in whatever community the organization is in is hugely impactful on employee engagement. This doesn’t mean you have to be a household name—just that you actively support your local community or pick a charity to sponsor—employees love getting behind a good cause and making a difference.

Another way to build engagement and also give back to the community is to volunteer for causes that matter to your employees. Some organizations ask employees to nominate a favorite charity and select that group to sponsor for a year. Others select organizations where not only are you giving back to the community but you are building teams such as volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. The organization makes a donation to the organization and then employees work on a build site for a day and in the process, get to know each other while supporting a good cause.

Of course, we know that to have engaged workers, you have to pay them fairly so it is important to participate in salary and benefits surveys in your market to be sure you are competitive. Pay and benefits are only part of what is now called “Total Rewards Programs” which, in addition to pay and benefits, also include recognition programs and flexible work schedules. Employees want to be recognized for the good work they do and, now more than ever, having flexible work arrangements have a hugely positive impact. (See the Total Rewards chapter in The Big Book of HR).

Investing in your employees by showing genuine interest in them as individuals and in their well-being will go a long way toward having a more engaged workforce.

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.