Is Your Company Engaging with its Employees?
If you read today’s business headlines it’s easy to panic. Only 30% of the US workforce is engaged! Turnover costs are running wild! There is a war for talent!
Let’s all stop and take a deep breath. It’s hard to believe that the American workforce has suddenly transformed into a bunch of job-hopping, apathetic freeloaders, looking to pass the time playing around on social media from 9 to 5 and go home to talk crap about their bosses. There are plenty of engaged employees at most companies, meaning that they come to work intending to do a good job and are reasonably happy to be there. Even if they don’t love your company all that much, they likely have a sense of personal pride that makes them want to do a good job regardless. Many of them like their co-workers and do not want to let them down by dropping the ball. The problem is often that their company is not engaging with them.
Just look at the Gallup Q12 questions. Number one is “I know what is expected of me at work.” This is the most basic right that an employee has: when they come to work they should know what they’re supposed to do in order to be successful. If the answer to this question is “False,” does that mean that the employee lacks drive or the will to help your company succeed? Actually it more likely means their manager is not doing their job. And THEN the will to excel is sapped, because how can you be driven to succeed if you don’t even know what success looks like?
So the good news is, you have the power to engage with your employees. They want to like their jobs, and they want to feel that they are doing well at them. They want managers who mentor them, who push them, and who recognize them when they excel. They want to feel like they are a part of something, to be recognized when they do a great job, and to hear constructive feedback when they could have done better. These are all two-way streets.
We have to accept that the American workplace has changed. It’s very rare for most employees to stay with one company for 10, 15, or 20+ years. Companies no longer offer the clear career paths and job security that allow for this type of stability. It’s easier to find other jobs with the prevalence of online job searching and recruiting. Most employees will get higher raises by going elsewhere rather than staying the course at their current company. So yes, now companies must try harder to make employees want to stay. Again, the employees haven’t changed—the environment has. It’s time for companies to step it up and meet the challenge.