What is engagement?
What does it mean to be engaged? Microsoft Workplace Insights provides a clear, simple definition that resonates with me:
“People want to come to work, understand their jobs, and know how their work contributes to the success of the organization.”
The Harvard Business Review defines higher employee engagement as:
“The strength of the mental and emotional connection an employee feels toward their workplace, [which] has many positive benefits — including reduced stress, improved health and job satisfaction, as well as increased productivity, job retention, and profitability.”
While reading Bob Chartier’s “Handcrafted Leadership” (2015), I found some painfully disappointing statistics. Other studies and polls reached similar results. The Gallup polling company surveyed almost 1.5 million employees across various sectors and found this:
- Only 28% of employees feel engaged at work
- A whopping 54% of employees do not feel fully engaged, meaning that they are compliant, not fully checked out, but lack passion or drive
- A disheartening 17% were actively disengaged from their workplace
This pains me a great deal. How much more productive could we be if we were able to get those fully engaged at work up to 50%, or 70%, or 100%? How much is our GDP, our communities, our businesses, and future generations impacted by our lack of engagement?
Check out these facts from the Gallup Poll:
- Organizations with high levels of engagement have a 22% higher level of productivity as those with low engagement
- Organizations with high levels of engagement have double the success rate as those with low levels of engagement
- Organizations with high levels of engagement have lower staff turnover and absenteeism
- Organizations with high levels of engagement have higher quality of work and fewer workplace safety incidents
Think about all the potential that is locked away due to a lack of engagement. These are truly dismal times. Our workplaces are not engaged and it impacts everyone to the detriment of society.
Have you ever felt unengaged at work? If you have, you may have felt bored, burned out, or like your potential was not being fully tapped or acknowledged. This is a major tragedy – that most people, the vast majority, feel this way. You are not alone, and you are not powerless.
Do something about it. Get people engaged by thinking and talking together. Talk to management and your colleagues to ask how you can help engage others. Start a community of practice on engagement. Support heath and wellness at the workplace, get people out for lunbreak walks, have a potluck or BBQ and invite everyone, or start a company sports team. Talk to other people, ask for their opinions, ask them what they are up to at work, encourage people, appreciate and recognize their work, and ensure your colleagues have a chance to share their knowledge and experiences. Create a culture of sharing, relationships and knowledge transfer.
As recommended by Bob Chartier in “Handcrafted Leadership” (2015), engage your workplace on four levels:
- Engage individuals
- Engage teams
- Engage the system
- Engage accountability
If you are interested, in the near future I will write some key highlights and tools to consider when you are planning your engagement activities. So, keep your eyes open for that.
In the meantime, check out the Harvard Business Review’s discussion on how to build employee engagement here: https://hbr.org/2019/11/making-work-less-stressful-and-more-engaging-for-your-employees and Microsoft Workplace Insights’ discussion on productivity and engagement here: https://insights.office.com/productivity/employee-engagement-does-more
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As always, I appreciate comments. Please share your thoughts, questions or opinions it will make for very engaging dialogue.