Most businesses have statements for corporate ambition. These are only a touchstone for the larger process of gaining organisational commitment. These statements can be very broad and invite organisational involvement in interpreting and operationalising, but business can still fail to achieve what it wants. Effectively, organisations experiencing this may not be tapping into the reservoirs of their employees’ knowledge and expertise.
Businesses need to be mindful of the need to soften the strategic focus at the top to generate new possibilities from within the organisations. Managers who realise the need to involve employees in strategic planning will eventually realise that they will not be abandoning their responsibilities but rather will be improving the quality of strategy formulation and the odds of implementation. Weak business execution has indeed cost organisations millions of dollars.
Once employees own the strategic direction of an organisation, the odds of engagement and implementation increase. Organisations may be having employees without immediate plans to leave but it does not mean they are loyal or engaged to their work. Studies have shown that 21% of employees are at the workplace for a salary and nothing more.
This is exacerbated by the absence of effective performance management systems.They only do enough to avoid being fired but are not likely to go above and beyond their primary responsibilities. This complacency is costing organisations. According to Gallup, disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity and 15% lower profitability.
Therefore, it is important for leaders to take proactive steps to fix engagement problems. Leaders who are complacent about creating a great place to work should not have the expectation that their employees will do anything besides being complacent in their daily responsibilities. Yet employee involvement is not difficult. It does not cost an organisation anything extra. Leaders simply solve these problems by involving their teams. They do so by making them part of the processes. A challenge for most of the leaders is the failure to solicit, listen and respond to employee feedback.
It is common knowledge that in a work environment employees want to be heard and understood even if it means saying ‘I hear you” on the part of the manager. Get employees involved in the process that involve them. Bring them together for a discussion. Get them committed to one to three actions that should be implemented to improve situations. Doing so increases accountability for everyone and increases the desire to participate in the process. When such actions are taken, get employees to work in groups rather than using a companywide approach to allow more employees to contribute and participate. Increase accountability by checking on them regularly at the same time giving them those spaces they need. Once employees know that you as leaders are taking action and that things are improving they will be more than happy to provide their thoughts.
Employee engagement is generally a fluid concept that is influenced by many factors ranging from compensation to doing exciting work and work-life balance. Work on continuous improvement of conditions and avoid merely reacting to things as they come.
Organisations across the globe are said to be losing at least US$2,2 million per year per each disengaged employee. It is not a sign of weakness or failure by management if you respond and address the employee value proposition. Refusing to take heed of the employee value proposition elements results in missed deadlines and undermining the excellent work by the engaged colleagues.
Disengaged employees drag down overall company performance as well as increasing turnover costs. The higher the level of disengagement, the higher the risks of talent loss. There are more advantages to keeping an engaged labour force than a disengaged one. The engaged employee works with passion and has profound feelings of connection with the organisation.
They drive innovation and will ultimately move the organisation forward.The disengaged lot are not just unhappy, but they also spend most of their time acting out on their unhappiness. Daily, these employees undermine what the engaged co-workers are doing. They also aggressively work on lowering the moral and productivity levels of others. These are really a real danger to the organisation. Leaders need to understand that disengagement at whatever level does damage organisational culture since the different categories of staff do not share the same vision. This category will never act as your brand ambassadors, yet your greatest ambassadors are employees.
In conclusion, various tools are available to gauge the level of staff engagement in organisations. Engagement is realised if leaders are transparent. In the event of employee satisfaction surveys, be sure to analyse the results and make them freely available to your team.
Resist that urge to only want to present the good news while holding back the bad. Usually with employees they are able to sniff out the inauthenticity and vice-versa usually results in demotivated staff. Management should take it upon themselves to provide necessary resources, promote good work ethics and organisational culture that supports strategy, and other practices allured to above to ensure high staff engagement levels.
Jinda is the managing consultant of PROSERVE Consulting Group, a leading supplier of professional HR and management services. — +263 773004143 or 263 242 772778 or visit: www.proservehr.com.