In a recent report, Gallup Research founds that the percentage of U.S. workers in 2015 who Gallup considered engaged in their jobs averaged 32%. The majority (50.8%) of employees were "not engaged," while another 17.2% were "actively disengaged." The results showed little to no improvement in employee engagement compared to the previous year.
The number one rule for employee engagement is that it needs to be monitored and quantified on an ongoing basis. You cannot just assume that your employees are engaged or disengaged to one extent or another. You need to know where they are, and address changes, whether up or down.
The number two rule for employee engagement is that for the most part leadership has tremendous potential impact on employee engagement, and in that sense, a lot can be done.
Here are some practical guidelines for increasing employee engagement. Once quantified and monitored, these are some things that you can do:
1. Lead by example:
Any change towards desirable behavior has to start by management demonstrating it. This requires self awareness and much self discipline from leaders but the results will be sure to come. While you may be unaware of the way you are perceived by employees in terms of the behaviors that you are demonstrating, it may be a good idea to use a professional consultant or coach in order to increase awareness and keep things on track. Oftentimes its not what you do, its how you are perceived. You should be in full awareness of both always.
2. Lead towards a company culture of transparency:
Transparency builds trust. Trust increases engagement. It is important for leaders to establish, enhance and nurture a company culture of transparency as one of the mechanisms for increased employee engagement.
3. Foster a company culture of appreciation:
Leaders often get busy with handling many challenging issues and neglecting to show appreciation and recognize accomplishments and efforts on an ongoing basis. Appreciation and recognition increase engagement and those two are correlated. A simple thank you goes a long, long way.
4. Show flexibility:
Employees appreciate flexibility in work hours and accommodating at times of need. It is a valuable resource for an employee that would oftentimes be just as valuable, if not more, to their benefits and pay. Always be aware of that need and use it as a source of increasing engagement and mutual relationship.
5. Be Genuine:
A good product sells well, and good relationship are the material out of which great companies are made. You cannot fake it. It simply does not work. Show genuine care. Be authentic and be present.