Let’s Get Engaged

Today, employee engagement and loyalty are more vital than ever before to an organization’s sustained success in the marketplace. I believe that there is a direct correlation between how engaged your workforce is and the customer experience.

Most of you are probably familiar with the findings of a 2010 Gallup Poll which suggested that only 43% of Americans are engaged at work on a daily basis. A new poll done by Gallup shows that the number has jumped to a whopping 50%! That’s pathetic. That means that 1/2 of your employees are coming to work because they want their check. Don’t get employee engagement confused with employee satisfaction. Those 50% of your employees like where they work and are quite satisfied getting their check!

I believe that there are four types of workers within the framework of employee engagement: Actively Engaged, Engaged, Disengaged and Actively Disengaged. Actively Engaged employees are passionately connected to their organization’s vision and mission and use discretionary time toward their company’s success. Actively Disengaged employees are just as passionate about being unhappy at work, with their lives and with their colleagues. It is on the other two groups we must focus…the Engaged and Disengaged. It shouldn’t take much to get the Engaged to become Actively Engaged and there is still hope for the Disengaged.

These 4 categories cross all types and sizes of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. For example, one study among hospitals found that having actively engaged employees, particularly those whose work include clinical responsibilities, see patients who receive better care, are healthier and more likely to recommend their hospital to others.

Leaders cannot “cause” employees to be more engaged. What they need to do is create an environment in which that can occur. Studies indicate that companies in which capacity is increased among leaders–through training and development to create employee engagement-friendly environments–actually see those levels increase. And, an increase in engagement internally has direct effect on the loyalty of our customer and on the bottom line of the company.

A new client of mine, Navy Federal Credit Union has taken the topic of employee engagement to new heights. They conduct regular employee engagement surveys (NOT satisfaction surveys!). They publicize why someone got a promotion or a certain job so the rest of the employees can understand why someone else may not have. They provide on-line training to all employees and give people flex shift options in case they need to take time off. NFCU goes out of its way to recognize achievement and even instituted “High Five” awards for their Member Service Representatives. This is a global organization with tens of thousands of employees. What is YOUR excuse?

Your employees WANT to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work. It is no longer simply about financial rewards and the pension. Why not give your people a reason to come to work tomorrow?


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