Failure to adequately engage employees is resulting in monumental costs for companies.
The now well-cited Gallup 2014 study suggests that 7 out of 10 workers are unhappy with work. The same Gallup study suggests that an unhappy workforce can amount to $550 billion in lost productivity a year.
That’s a lot of money left on the table, and that doesn’t even include the cost of replacing workers that decide to throw in the towel to work somewhere else.
The remedy to engage workers won’t immediately be about better pay or perks like beer drinking Fridays. Real employee engagement is about improvements to the way jobs are being done. That means focusing on the rituals, rules, and policies that enable or block the workforce from contributing its best work.
For starters: ask, and ask frequently. Real employee engagement creates an ongoing dialogue between individuals, teams, and leadership. You have to have conversations with your workforce beyond the initial recruitment process, and regularly in-between formal review cycles. Use employee engagement software that can deploy and collect the answers, suggestions, praise, and criticism across the organization on a weekly basis.
More importantly, you can make it anonymous so your workforce and management can engage in an open and honest space to express their ideas. Listen, reflect, and adjust the culture–do this frequently and you’ll reduce turnover rates while also figuring out how to strengthen your workforce.
Once you’ve assessed the right tool or process for asking questions, you can now start to focus on what to ask your workforce. You want find out what makes people excited to come into work, what frustrates them to the point of madness, how they really see themselves growing in the organization, and what might be getting in their way on a day-to-day basis.
On a functional level you want to know how individuals feel about simply getting the day-to-day job or task done. On an emotional and social level you want to get to the heart of a person’s perspective beyond the functional elements. Who are they trying to impress? How do they perceive themselves against others? What do they crave from leadership or their peers? What makes them happy, angry, or sad? This is an important layer because the emotional and social aspects of the job aren’t as visible as the functional ones.
Ashish Gambhir is president of MomentSnap, an employee engagement software company. He cites a Harvard Business Review survey that says companies where senior leadership stress a transparent environment with good communication can result in over 70% of the workforce being engaged.
“The best employees consider themselves, to some extent, as stakeholders in their company,” says Gambhir. “The brand is a part of their identity, and vice versa — as an employee, they both represent the business and are defined by their role in it. This sentiment becomes difficult to harness when employees feel in the dark about the details that matter.”
Great employee engagement reinforces the feeling that an employee is actually on the ship as opposed to watching from the shore. Gambhir took some time to share the service’s strongest questions to employees.
Try them out and see what you learn about your organization:
1. “How accessible is the information you need to do your job?”
Projects have the tendency to break down when individuals or teams fail to communicate vital information to each other. Who has the authority to make game-time decisions? What is the quality-assurance process? Where is the appropriate documentation for reference and posterity? Whose job is it to communicate progress to the company? What is failure and what is success? The alignment is crucial to stress-free progress or process improvements. This is a question that can get to the heart of what individuals need to know in order to the best job possible. This will improve as you learn what worked and what didn’t from project to project.
2. “When was the last time you felt valued by the company?”
“Being valued is more than receiving a paycheck and benefits. When employees excel at their jobs, they expect to be recognized — not necessarily with a bonus or stock options, but with words,” says Gambhir. This question not only allows individuals to point out an instance of recognition, but it’ll also allow leadership to understand if they are recognizing the workforce frequently enough. Has it been a long time since the employee felt valued? Has the employee pointed out how great it is to be recognized on a weekly basis? Was there a particular piece of recognition in a specific area of their work that really made them feel great? Make a note of this and work to recognize them in the place they care about the most–it’s a great opportunity to motivate the individual.
To read the rest of this article written by Kavi Guppta please go to Forbes.