In the recently completed World Series you witnessed two teams who were “in to the game”. Up on the top step of the dugout, cheering and watching every pitch, giving extra effort running the bases or in the field. As leaders we all strive to get our teams to that level of engagement and intrinsic motivation, but for some it remains ever elusive.
Have you ever caught yourself complaining about members of your team not working as hard as you think they should? If you’re like the vast majority of leaders I know (myself included) you probably have, but did you ever consider that you as the leader might be at the root of the problem?
A recent global workforce study reiterated what previous ones had found, that only about a third of the global workforce is highly engaged, leaving the remaining two-thirds less engaged or not engaged at all. This is important because highly engaged employees are emotionally committed to their organization’s goals and use their discretionary effort to go the extra mile on behalf of their organization.
In addition, the stock prices of organizations that are part of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” (ie. High levels of employee engagement) outperformed the overall market by almost 10%. In other words, doing well for your employees results in doing well for your stockholders.
What do employees who are not highly engaged do? They might look for work elsewhere—or perhaps even worse, stay and do the bare minimum to remain employed. An old adage says, “Good employees don’t leave because of a bad company, they leave because of a bad boss.” Numerous studies have consistently discovered the following reasons for employee departure:
- Lack of meaningful work
- Lack of trust and respect
- Lack of support from direct supervisors and management
- Lack of appreciation
- Constantly shifting priorities and reorganization
- Feeling ignored or micromanaged
So How Do I Know if My Employees are Engaged?
There are a lot of great in-depth tools for measuring employee engagement, however if you want to do a quick pulse check to see where your team is at, consider using the following short survey at your next meeting.
Have every employee read each statement and rate it according to the following scale: 1=Never or seldom; 2=Occasionally; 3=Usually; 4=Always.
- I feel a sense of purpose and know that my work has meaning.
- I feel trusted and respected by my manager and colleagues.
- My manager provides me with the resources I need to do my job.
- I feel appreciated by my manager and senior leadership.
- My organization’s vision and priorities are clear to all employees.
- My manager gives me feedback about how I’m doing without micromanaging me.
- I enjoy coming to work every day.
- I’m willing to make an extra effort to ensure my organization is successful.
Next, add the numbers from all 8 questions. Either compare the scores individually to the table or find the overall average. The ranges and their meanings are:
- 8–15: Your team has a low level of engagement with their work and the organization.
- 16–24: Your team has mixed feelings, or their level of engagement is situational.
- 25–32: Your team feels highly engaged with their work and your organization.
But what can I do if my team isn’t engaged?
Don’t panic if your team was not as engaged as you hoped they'd be. Here are four strategies you can utilize to begin to increase their engagement. The strategies are KNOW, SHOW, GROW & CROW.
- Know—know your employees as individuals and know what their unique strengths are. Pay more attention to leveraging the strengths that you do have vs. complaining about what’s missing.
- Show—show your employees you support them by giving them the resources they need to do their jobs well and by removing obstacles that hinder their ability to do so.
- Grow—give your employees the right amount of attention and feedback to help them develop their skills and feel their work is meaningful. Sure you may lose some to promotion but you’ll gain the reputation as the manager who gets his team where they want to be.
- Crow—share information and give your employees the recognition and appreciation they deserve for their contributions to the organization. You cannot over-communicate.
If you keep in mind Know, Show, Grow and Crow your engagement issues will soon be a thing of the past, and who knows maybe your team is as engaged as the next World Series champion.