Last week I taught a leadership workshop to Human Resources (HR) professionals on keys for boosting employee engagement. There were various organizations represented from landscaping to higher education to temp agencies to transportation, but despite their differences, one thing was the same—they all wanted to increase employee engagement.
Why would they want to do that? Because according to Glassdoor, organizations with engagement programs report 26% greater year-after-year revenue than organizations that don’t have them. Contrast that with the cost of disengaged employees. A study by CareerBuilder found that the cost of one disengaged employee per year is at least $25,000 and could go higher than $50,000.
Engagement also improves job satisfaction, quality of life, and employee relationships, and decreases turnover and absenteeism. With these benefits, it’s easy to see why organizations are interested in increasing employee engagement. That’s why these HR professionals had gathered for the leadership workshop.
I gave them three keys for boosting employee engagement.
#1. Establish clear expectations for every role.
When I asked how many had a clear understanding of what was being expected of them, not many said they did. According to Gallup, only 60% of US workers strongly agree they know what is expected of them at work. And yet, the most basic need of employees is knowing what’s expected.
If you don’t have that, you don’t have much. How will you know how you’re doing? How will you know where you’re aiming? How will you know when you’re done? You may be busy on all the wrong things, and all while you think you’re striking gold, but really it’s counted as dirt. Establish clear expectations for every role.
#2. Point employee strengths toward their job outcomes.
One of my favorite aspects of working with employees is seeing their strengths in action. They don’t know it, but in the course of a day, I’m spotting strengths and taking notes and learning how they function. In the general sense, I think of strengths as one’s means of making contributions to the world. Employees must be trained to identify their strengths and point them toward the right outcomes.
However, most of our strengths are deeply underutilized. We may know a few of them and think of using them. But when you think of all the strengths out there to make contributions—talents, experiences, personality traits, partnerships, skills, knowledge, values—are we really tapping into them for what they’re worth? Point employee strengths toward their job outcomes.
#3. Help employees to plan and pursue meaningful growth.
After testing and tweaking its engagement survey questions for decades, the Gallup Organization released its 12 best questions to measure engagement. Three of the 12 questions ask about growth, development, and progress. Employee growth is so important, it appears in 25% of the questions on the engagement survey.
And yet, only 30% of US workers strongly agree that in the last six months someone at work has talked to them about their progress, and also only 30% strongly agree that someone at work encourages their development. If meaningful growth is so important, why are the numbers so low? Help employees to plan and pursue meaningful growth.
Better employee engagement is attainable if you make the effort as an organization. You can boost your employee engagement!