Rethinking employee engagement


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Employee engagement: You think you’re doing it right, but would your employees agree?

 Gallup estimates that disengaged managers alone – so the people who are managing your employees – their disengagement costs somewhere between $77 billion and $96 billion annually. So it has a very negative impact on organizations both by a company-by-company basis and really on the economy as a whole. Bloomberg found that $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover which is often the direct result of low engagement. Employee engagement and reducing disengagement is obviously extremely important but if we’re all putting so much effort into it, then why is it still such a problem? Where are we going wrong?

Employee engagement – you think you know what it is and how to do it right but do you? Many people have very different understandings and perceptions about what the concept of employee engagement really is.

The one thing that is incorrect with most people’s perception is that employee engagement is not just about happiness or satisfaction someone feels in the workplace. Many business leaders jump to the belief that employee engagement is about people being happy or feeling satisfied in their jobs, but the truth is that engagement is a much bigger concept than that. In fact, when you ask someone who is engaged in their job to talk about a time when they were most engaged, they rarely talk about a time when they were doing very little work, when they were bored, when they were just sitting around happy. It’s usually when they were working hard and really passionate about what they were doing.

So what is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment that a person has both towards the company itself and to the company’s goals. When people are really engaged in their company and the company’s goals, it ultimately leads to this thing called psychological ownership where people work and act like they’re actually a part of the company, a part of the ownership of the company, and make decisions in that way.

The second thing true employee engagement leads to is this idea of discretionary effort. Discretionary effort is really when you start to see employees do things on their own, make decisions and take actions without needing to be asked. They put in extra effort and energy because they want to do it, not because they have to do it. When people are really engaged, there’s much more willingness to go above the minimum requirements and to perform at a higher level because they’re passionate, energized, and enthusiastic to do it for the good of the company.

What does that look like in terms of other end behaviors? It’s when they’re not just working for the check, when they’re willing to go the extra mile, when they deeply care about what customers think and want to do best for them because they know it impacts the company. They think about their decisions and their spend in terms of like it’s their own checkbook, and they put in longer hours happily and excitedly in order to do things that matter – all behaviors that you want to see in all your employees everywhere in your organization.

So how do you do employee engagement the right way so you too can see these benefits?

 

 

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