Employee engagement thoughts

Employee Engagement Thoughts

How many people work in your organisation? Well, if the research is to be believed, the answer is about half of them.

Our Denise recently went to a session on Employee Engagement. Here are some of her thoughts:

“I recently went along to a session on Employee Engagement. I guess I heard nothing new. However, it did reinforce why it is important to keep thinking about it. The latest research seems to suggest that in current New Zealand workplaces:

  • 26% of staff are engaged
  • 46% are ‘present’
  • 28% are actively disengaged

I think we can all do the math on what that might mean for productivity, customer service, the cost of recruitment, training, etc. but the question remains how do you increase the numbers of engaged employees? (This is as defined by the people at the session by observing the application of discretionary effort.)Want to improve your leadership impact? Check out our free Leadership Impact video series here

Should we be focusing on the huge opportunity of people in the middle? In other words, the 46% “present“? When asked what has the greatest impact on people being engaged, the top three answers were:

  1. What everyone else does interesting.
  2. Continuous performance feedback conversations (not just once or twice a year.)
  3. What my boss does (actions are louder than words.)

No huge surprises here.. How does this align with what ‘good’ organisations actually do on a day-to-day basis to engage their staff? I asked an old colleague that question. Stuart Burgess is the MD of Investors in People NZ. He works with a wide range of organisations carrying out reviews against an International Standard of Best People Practice. The ‘best’ organisations he sees do the following:

  • Involve people. Genuinely involve the whole team in planning. This is more that an ‘away day.’ On-going follow up and explanations about how their input influenced the specific goals in the plan is a great exercise. Milestone reporting during the year in a verbal way is really engaging for teams. There is nothing like the CEO standing up and explaining what has gone well and why.
  • Relaxed managers know how to have decent conversations with the whole team and then individually. The 1:1 part is the most important. The best teams are those that have structured 1:1 sessions each month. The worst are those that just do annual reviews.

What doesn’t work in his view?

When the organisation undertakes surveys or half-hearted attempts to boost engagement. It’s like saying these are your values! Surveys can turn people off and they can become cynical

His overall view is that a highly engaged culture is one that does the basics really well. They don’t have fancy tools and aren’t told to engage their teams. They just have the skills and EQ to do it naturally.

Sound easy? I am not trying to over simplify this. Having caught up with a lot of senior HR people recently, the biggest trend I am identifying from a leadership perspective is to get the basics right! We know it makes sense and it is what our people are telling us.

If you would like a conversation about the impact that your leaders can have on the engagement of your people and what that might look like, please give us a call for a free consultation session.