Love Don’t Live Here: A Word on Employee Engagement
According to a recent study on “Employee Engagement and Global Workforce” by Towers Perrin, “barely 1 in 5 employees (about 21%) are engaged on the job”. This same study says “8% of employees are fully disengaged and the remaining 71% of employees are enrolled (partially engaged) or disenchanted (partially disengaged).”
These numbers are staggering and if your are a CEO or Manager reading this one statement should come to mind and that is “love don’t live here anymore”. Employees are no longer in love with your job or your company. Somewhere between their first day of work and the present you have managed to let the spark die and now they’re just not that into you. Such is true in any relationship. You skip through the meadows with excitement during the courting period (recruitment). You glisten with sparks of happiness as you get to know this other person (pre-screening and/or interview). You have had many dates since you first met (1st, 2nd maybe even 3rd interview). Now that you realize that you have many things in common you prep yourself to pop the question (the offer). As with any proper engagement it can’t be just any ring you buy or any old venue in which you decide to make your move (salary, relocation, sign bonuses etc.) Now for the moment of truth- you pop the question. Was the question and offer worth the “yes- I will marry you” or is it worthy of just “hooking up”? This is an important question to ask because people except jobs for different reasons-but the most important one is to sustain themselves and their loved ones.
Now that you understand the dynamics of the relationship. You know that the employee may not have been in love with you or the company at all. You see it was an arrangement- a means to an end. Suppose for a second that they had been in love in the beginning- where did the love go? Well, here’s a thought- relationships require work. That means constant communication, nurturing, each needs to show they appreciate the other every now and again (performance management/career development/benefits/recognition etc.). Is it possible that your company isn’t what the employee fell in love with initially? Perhaps, the employee hasn’t lived up to its promises either-have you communicated this to them?
There are studies upon studies that report on employee engagement looking at various variables. If you got all of the statisticians in one room and asked for an overarching theme, I think most would tell you that there is a strong correlation between engagement and retention. As a leader that is all you need to know to effectively manage employee engagement. The less engaged your employees are the less likely you are to retain them. No retention equals dollars loss in training, onboarding, salary and other precious resources.
How do you get back to being the couple of the year? Here’s three tips:
1) It starts with communication. Develop an onboarding program to check in with your employees at various intervals after they are hired. In addition, don’t wait once a year to tell your employee you love what they are doing or to communicate that you are unhappy with their performance. Get into the habit of having regular conversations with them.
2) I know times are rough for many businesses but it is twice as hard on your workers in the trenches everyday. After all what business do you have without them? Use Pavlov’s guide to human conditioning as your guide, reinforce positive behavior and punish negative behavior. That is reward the efforts of your employees. It doesn’t always have to be in the form of dollars and cents. Allowing them an extra day off or time with family may mean more to them than a few extra dollars in their check. As for poor performance, deal with situations in the moment and help to develop your employees. Reward your employees efforts towards improvement and you are bound to see more of it.
3) Lastly, there is nothing worse than getting an ambitious employee to your company only for them to realize that there is no way to march up or across just in place or down if you’re a poor performer. Take the time to get to know your employee’s wants, needs and aspirations. This information will aid you in facilitating their career development.
There’s no question that the employee/employer relationship is a two-way street. Happiness is not possible without both making significant contributions and sacrifices in the spirit of having a harmonious relationship. You get what you put into a relationship why should this one be any different? Leaders: If you value your business and employees you will take heed and make changes immediately. As for employees, no one can make you miserable unless you let them. If the relationship is no longer favorable-seek counseling or get out of it altogether. I firmly believe that there is an employer for everyone you just have to find the right one.
By CzarinaofHR (Janine Truitt)
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.