Is employee engagement the exact same as motivation?
Not quite. While motivation is a crucial factor in employee engagement, trust and loyalty are also important. Engaged employees are created by a combination of these three factors. Research has shown that employees who are engaged with their work have better performance, customer satisfaction, profitability, and staff turnover than those with lower levels.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement can be defined in many ways. The Conference Board (2006) describes employee engagement as “a higher emotional connection an employee feels towards his or her workplace that influences him/her to exert greater discretionary efforts to his/her work.”
Why is engagement critical?
According to Gallup, at any given time,
29% of employees are engaged in their work
54% of respondents are not engaged
17% are actively disengaged
Fully engaged employees are more connected to their organization and are more committed to quality growth. These employees may be the ones we pay less attention to, as they are often enthusiastic and can do a great job on their own. It’s all great, but they can become disengaged quickly if they feel that we don’t care enough about their goals and aspirations. Engaging them in setting goals and helping them reach their full potential is critical.
It can be difficult to identify ‘not-engaged’ employees. They are engaged employees who do their job every day. However, the difference between them & engaged employees is that they concentrate on tasks and not on outputs. They will do what is required and are happy to take on new lessons. They are present, they do their jobs well, but there is no emotional attachment. They feel their contributions aren’t valued, or their potential is not being fully tapped. They feel disconnected from their managers and colleagues. Their commitment to the organization is reduced because they don’t feel like anyone cares. If we spend time with these employees, helping them understand the importance and strengths of their contributions and how they can make a difference in the organization, then they will be more engaged.
Disengaged employees can be the most destructive to an organization or team. They are unhappy at work, but they also express disenchantment and animosity towards the group or organization. It is possible to modify their ideas and restore a sense of belonging and commitment in some cases, but it is not always possible. In many cases, these employees have already shut the door emotionally and may decide to leave the organization.
People want to feel like individuals. This is not the most exciting news, but it would surprise you how many people I speak to feel like they are just another employee at work. Engaging employees means building emotional bonds with them through creating a sense of meaning and purpose. This connects them to the vision of the company.
It is important to remember that not everyone can be pleased. Individuals will have different needs. It is not possible to make your employees feel unique by taking a general approach to their development and management.
Top tips for engaging your team
According to most studies, the relationship between employees and their managers is one of the most significant factors in employee engagement. It is simple things such as regular communication, having fun, and being appreciated for their contributions that can make a difference in whether or not an employee is engaged.
Gallup has done extensive research on the topic of employee engagement. They have identified a number of statements, known as the Gallup 12, that, if true, can predict only team and employee performance. These twelve statements are:
I am aware of what is expected from me at work.
I have all the tools and materials I need to do my job right.
My job allows me to do the things I love every day.
Over the past seven days, I received praise or recognition for my excellent work.
My supervisor or another employee seems to care about me personally.
My work colleagues encourage my growth.
My opinions seem to be valued at work.
My company’s mission and purpose make me feel important.
My colleagues and I are dedicated to quality work.
I am blessed with a friend at work.
I have had at least six conversations with someone from work over the past six months about my progress.
In the last year, I’ve had many opportunities to grow and learn at work.
These statements can be rewritten if they are found to be false. You can make people respond positively by being a leader and using these twelve statements to your advantage.
Give feedback and provide guidance.
Give the resources necessary to solve problems and do a good job
Ask people to talk about their talents and passions.
Accurate recognition and/or rewards
Talk to people about problems. Flexibility is key, encouraging people to balance their work and personal lives.
Let people know what their strengths are and set aside time to help them develop.
Get ideas and input from everyone.
Help people to see their work within a larger context.
With your team, develop standards and then implement them
Encourage social interaction and laughter in the workplace.
Keep track of your progress and schedule them.
Offer opportunities to people to realize their potential
Although it may seem daunting, why not take on the challenge? You might decide to take one step per month over the next year and start now to prove every statement true for your team. To see how far you’ve come, you could survey your team using Gallup 12. You can also use the Gallup 12 to gauge progress over the next year.
Engaging your team is a constant pursuit. However, it can deliver results and satisfaction for both you and your team. It’s worth it for you and your team.
Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the ways we can engage your employees, improve their performance, and how you can use these methods.
(c) Ann Greene 2007. All Rights Reserved Worldwide
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