The leaders at all levels find it challenging to engage their employees effectively in the workplace.
"There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organisation's overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energised employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it." - Jack Welch, former CEO of GE
Employee engagement has become a major challenge globally. Research shows strange findings. Gallup Management Journal's semiannual Employee Engagement Index shows that only 29 per cent of employees are actively engaged in their jobs, while 54 per cent are not engaged and 17 percent are actively disengaged. Right Management found similar results with only 34 per cent of employees fully engaged while 50 per cent are completely disengaged. Everyone accepts that human resources is the key to economic growth and prosperity. The leaders at all levels find it challenging to engage their employees effectively in the workplace. Employees are either overly engaged or poorly engaged within the organisations. Engaging employees effectively as per the organisational goals and objectives improves the bottom lines.
David Zinger, says in Let's Co-Create an Employee Engagement Charter, The Employee Engagement Network, "Employee engagement is the art and science of engaging people in authentic and recognised connections to strategy, roles, performance, organisation, community, relationship, customers, development, energy, and happiness to leverage, sustain, and transform work into results."
There are some global companies that have actively engaged their employees including Southwest Airlines, Zappos.com, Google, and Virgin because they emphasised on the theme of 'employees first, customers second'.
Here are some tools and techniques to engage your employees effectively:
- Find out the aspirations and expectations of your employees and assign them tasks accordingly. Identifying whether they are attracted by financial or non-financial motivation helps ensure effective employee engagement.
- Allocate roles and responsibilities based on their strengths. Give them challenging tasks to enable them to come out of their comfort zones to execute their tasks effectively.
- Emphasise on stretch goals. When employees stretch, they unlock their hidden potential. For instance, Jack Welch emphasised on stretch goals and succeeded in GE.
- Encourage job rotation. Job rotation helps employees learn something of everything about other areas to make them more competent and grow as leaders. Job rotation is divided into vertical and horizontal where vertical job rotation helps grow higher level within the organisation while the horizontal job rotation helps understand the functions of other areas at the same level.
- Create healthy organisational culture and climate for employees to contribute their best. Ensure that the organisational culture is free from organisational politics.
- Empower your employees. Give them freedom to make decisions. Respect their failures. Let them learn lessons from their failures to grow as successful leaders.
- Treat your employees as people, not as workers.
- Don't micromanage. Offer them assignments and enough time to breathe to execute their tasks. Give them freedom to work as they might surprise you with their performance.
- Take initiative to inspire your employees as they prefer to work with good leaders than under bad bosses.
- Provide them with feedback to enable them to assess their strengths and concerns. It helps them overcome their concerns to grow as better performers and leaders.
Both disengaged and over engaged employees are liabilities as disengaged employees lose focus on organisational objectives and over engaged employees get stressed out. Hence, there is a need to strike a right balance between them to keep employees excited to contribute their best.
Some employees join companies purely for monetary reasons where they end up with disengagement and disenchantment. It is the role of leaders to connect employees emotionally with their tasks. Remember, increased employee engagement leads to increased organisational bottom lines. Hence, it is essential to emphasise on engaging employees actively into their tasks.
"Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person - not just an employee - are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability." - Anne M. Mulcahy