In my work as a corporate consultant, the number one issue of need identified by companies is employee engagement.
Why is employee engagement so important?
According to studies by the Dale Carnegie Institute and statistics from the Bureau of National Affairs and the Gallup organization, companies lose $11 billion a year due to employee turnover. Conversely, companies with engaged employees outperform those with disengaged employees by 202%. And according to this study, the rate of employees not fully engaged is a staggering 71%.
This is a massive opportunity wrapped inside an equally massive problem.
How do you turn the 71% of “not fully engaged” employees into 71% fully engaged?
The fact is, that is the opportunity that likely lies within your current organization.
Think about it.
For every 100 employees you have, 71 of them are not performing to the level that they could. Instead of accepting a 29% rate of high level performance, what if you could double that rate by simply tapping into the 71% of employees you already have?
Most executives tend to look at the 71% and start by removing what they see to be the “dead weight.” There is certainly a place for this, as in every organization there are those who just will not engage, no matter what you do.
But first…ask yourself one question: WHY?
- WHY is the turnover rate so high?
- WHY are the qualified employees you have hired and carefully vetted not performing up to expectations?
- WHY are you not reaching goals within your organization?
Identify the Root Cause of Disengagement
If you ask your people and allow them to be perfectly candid, you may find one issue to be at the root of disengagement, and that issue is disempowerment.
Think about it.
- If you have trained your people to just come to work and do what they are told, they are not going to be engaged.
- If you never ask for their input on ideas or projects (or don’t listen when they offer up new ideas), they are not going to be engaged.
- If you delegate the work and then hover over every detail to ensure they do it a certain way, they will not be engaged.
You essentially have disempowered your workforce.
Identify the Root Cause of Disempowerment
Pay and benefits are a factor in employee staying power. Position is a factor for many. But there is no greater factor in employee retention than empowerment.
- People need to know their work matters. This provides purpose in their work.
- They need to be able to bring their strengths to the table and actively contribute to a common goal. This generates enthusiasm for their work.
- They need to feel they have some control over an outcome or some ability to solve the problem with which they are presented. This leads to accomplishment in their work.
- They need to be trusted to figure out the “how” once you have adequately described the “what”. This fosters creativity in their work.
Think about this. If you had an employee who found purpose in their work, worked enthusiastically with the team, met challenges with accomplishment of goals, and was allowed to be creative in their work…WHY WOULD THEY WANT TO LEAVE?
The bottom line: micromanagement weakens the workforce.
You as a leader have two choices. You can empower your people and create an enthusiastic team of purpose-focused, problem-solving, creative geniuses…or you can create an anemic, disengaged team.
- By empowering them or by micromanaging them.
- If you make all the decisions for your people, you weaken them.
- If you hover over every detail instead of allowing your employees to create a course of action, you weaken them.
Here is where your leadership opportunity presents itself. You have the opportunity to not be like other leaders out there – those who have a 71% disengagement rate.
Here is how you do it:
- You hire great people with strengths your organization needs and a proven track record.
- You equip them well with the training and tools they need to do the job for which you have hired them.
- You communicate goals clearly.
- You ask for ideas…and listen.
- You empower them to make decisions within the realm of their expertise.
It starts with YOU. Do these things, then step back and watch what happens. You may just be amazed at the results!