Engagement – It’s just about a ring….
According to a recent study by Deloitte, only 20% of workers are truly “passionate” about their job. Brent Peterson, in his book “Fake Work” reported research that claimed 70+% of workers believe their organization’s strategies and goals are not translated into specific work tasks they can execute, do not know how to support their organizations’ strategies and goals, and do not feel a strong level of commitment to their organization. And for us civil servant types, Peterson’s research claims that a disturbing 3 of 4 government workers cannot name a single goal of their department or agency.
Not surprisingly, Keith Ayers writes in “Engagement is Not Enough” that only 30% of workers described themselves as “engaged” with their organizations. Fully 54% reported not being engaged, and frighteningly, 1 in 6 reported being actively “disengaged”. Peterson terms these the “quit…and stay’s”.
The good news is that the primary antitode to the “quit and stays” is good leadership. Peterson divided the strategies designed to address and upgrade employee engagement as job factors (do people see the importance of their work), organizational factors (do employees believe the organization is committed to growing and has clear goals) and relationship factors (are employees connected to their peers and bosses).
Much of the action steps for the above involves clear and consistent communication about where your team is going, what values or ideals are critical for the journey, and what the end state should look like. Given the results previously described, there seems room for a lot of collective improvement amongst those responsible. The studies are too numerous to cite, but overwhelmingly support starting the engagement process with those most likely to affect a person’s “engagement” – first line supervisors. Good leadership can ensure everyone knows the importance of what they do, empower them to make decisions about the work, communicate the growth path of the organization and set clear goals, and check in with support and feedback regularly.
Ken Blanchard considered the engagement issue and posed several questions to ask in order to determine the presence of engagement in an organization. To what degree people actively endorse the organization as a good place to grow is one sure indicator of whether people are “in”. Do people go above and beyond the requirements of their position as a matter of daily performance? Do people consistently think beyond themselves and look for “win/win” solutions as a habit? When it is necessary to go the extra mile, does it happen? And how many express a desire to stay with the organization for the long term? Most importantly, if YOU asked yourself these questions, what are the answers?