Employee engagement has become a buzzword in business today.
The term was first used by William A. Kahn in his 1990 article, Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work, it became the go-to phrase to describe the attitude employees displayed about their job. Kahn’s article examined how an individual’s perspective on safety, meaningfulness and availability had an impact on their level of engagement or disengagement.
Over the next few decades, companies would invest billions of dollars to discover the secret to retaining quality employees.
The era of job satisfaction had ended in the mid 1970’s and made way for the idea of job commitment. Employees (and employers) were looking for long term relationships, where they could settle in over the course of a career and go the distance with a company.
The development of technology and the growing global workplace sparked the idea in the early 1990’s that employees no longer had to settle for a lifetime career with one company.
With the rise of service industry jobs and a decline in traditional industries, employees discovered that they needed to be flexible in their skills and availability. Employers were facing a shifting workforce as employees moved from job to job, often capitalizing on their skills to move from one short term job to another.
Business managers realized that they were losing valuable employees, and as a result, time and money as they tried to build teams of workers who could help their business grow. Kahn’s investigation into the working habits of employees became a pivotal element into the development of modern human resource departments.
Employers scrambled to determine how to retain their employees and ensure that the ones they kept were fully engaged in their jobs. After decades of surveys by groups such as Gallup’s, employers know more about what makes their employees tick and how to cultivate engagement.
A recent study revealed that employee engagement in Canada is shockingly low. According to the report, only 25% of employees are actively engaged, leaving 15% of employees as actively disengaged and 60% of employees as not engaged.
With over half the workforce not engaged, corporations are losing real dollars in revenue and are faced with a revolving door of employees.
What can companies do to re-engage their employees?
Focus on employee strengths. Today’s employees want to do more than punch a time clock. They want to make a difference and are looking for a place where they can use their strengths to effect change. Invest in employee development programs that help team members identify their strengths and discover how to maximize those strengths in their job.
Be inclusive. Management has a responsibility to their team to demonstrate their appreciation for the unique personality and qualities of everyone on staff. Evaluate your employee assessment program to ensure that it focuses on what makes each individual an important part of your team.
Communicate corporate goals and purpose. Goal setting and vision planning are essential to helping employees re-engage with their job. By demonstrating how their job fits into the overall vision for the company, they can feel connected to the business. Teaching employees how to use goal setting will allow them to take responsibility for their job performance and work to achieve success.
Developing an employee engagement program can be intimidating, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Take advantage of proven systems that can increase your employee engagement and motivate your employees to reach new heights.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.