I recently had the pleasure of hearing Tom Hoff, Gallup's Southeast business development leader, speak on employee engagement. He shared some stats from the most recent State of the American Workplace Report that would make any leader sit up and pay attention. Thankfully, he also shared some tips for taking action to help leaders and managers improve employee engagement so you can be on the right side of those stats.
1. “On average, about half of workers are not completely clear about what they are supposed to do at work.” Yikes! That means that potentially half of your employees are just guessing how they should be spending their working hours. You need role and goal clarity for each person on your team so that you can maximize your return on
- Provide Role Clarity. "Define what excellence looks like in each role." A great tool for this is a Job Scorecard. Start with your executive team and roll them out for each person in your company.
- Have Ongoing Conversations. "Conduct regular team meetings to ask about
clarityof job expectations.” Rather than having annual performance reviews, have ongoing conversations with your team about how they are doing against the expectations you agreed on in their Job Scorecards. Using a dashboard like Rhythm can prompt the right discussions when you as the manager need to step in and coach a team member to get back on track or when you need to recognize a team member for exceptional performance.
- Connect to the Big Picture. "Set aside time to explain to employees how they contribute to the team’s success.” Make the connection for people between their daily work and your company’s purpose and long-term strategy. In Rhythm software, team members can see how their individual priorities are linked to support the team and company priorities so they can see how their work impacts the bigger picture.
2. “Only one in three employees strongly agree that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.” Providing employees opportunities to exercise their strengths is a win-win - employees who are doing what they do best will be more productive and more engaged, and your company will reap the benefits. Here are Tom’s tips for taking action:
- Learn Their Strengths. “Set your employees up for success by organizing tasks and activities based on each employee’s talents and strengths.” As a team leader, you know which activities each of your team members feel strong doing, and you should work to provide opportunities for them to do more of what they do best. Patrick Mieritz from Gallup is presenting a breakout session on how the best managers identify and leverage individual strengths to increase team performance at our 2017 Breakthrough Conference if you want to learn more.
- Align Work to Strengths. “Ask yourself if you know what employees enjoy most about their work every day. If this doesn’t align with their tasks, consider ways you can align employees to do what they do - and enjoy doing - best.” This could even mean moving someone to a different team or role within your company. Gallup found that 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job, so proactively aligning your best players with the tasks they do best, even if it means moving them to a different job within your company, could be an important retention strategy for your best employees.
3. “About four in ten workers globally strongly agree that they have the materials and equipment to do their job right.” That’s less than half of workers who feel well-equipped for success. Does your team have what they need? Do they feel empowered to ask for it when they don’t? Here are Tom’s tips for taking action:
Them. “ Follow upregularly with employees to make sure they have the tools and information they need to perform their jobs effectively.” Don’t assume that they have what they need. Tom shared a story about a company that responded to an employee engagement survey where this item came up as one to address by buying top of the line new computers for everyone; however, what the team really needed was more staplers. Make it a habit to check in periodically to ensure your team has what they need.
- Be Open and Responsive. “Promptly respond to requests for tools and equipment that employees need to do their jobs properly, even if you cannot grant the request.” Nothing is more disengaging to employees than feeling like their voices are not heard. If you can’t provide what they need when they ask, take the time to explain why. Be sure the team feels heard and appreciated for bringing up their needs, and advocate for them to your leadership team when you can.
Shifting your thinking from approaching employee engagement as another HR initiative or a survey you do once a year to approaching it as a strategic initiative that integrates with and enhances all the other strategies you are working on will help you boost performance across your organization. If you want to learn more about using employee engagement as a competitive advantage for your business from Tom Hoff, you are in luck! He is one of our keynote speakers at our Breakthrough Conference.
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