Employee Engagement – more people need to ‘get it’ and more people need to ‘do it’

With growth at 0.1%, enhancing performance through Employee Engagement has never been more crucial. An incisive government report by MacLeod and Clarke, takes an in-depth view. Some of the outcomes they identify could make a staggering impact upon our economy.

But what is Employee Engagement. Is it something magical for big companies or is it something that SME’s can embrace?

A psychologist will probably tell you it’s a muddled term. They will have a clinical description, defining it as part attitude, part behaviour and part outcome. Business Leaders will describe it emotionally, ‘you will know it when you see it’. The outcome is that it can mean different things to different people and it can also neatly fall into that ‘not for us’ category, as it is intangible.

I see it happening when an organisation’s employees have a sense of individual belonging towards the business. When they each feel a personal motivation to do everything in their power to help it succeed and take pride in that. When they have a positive attitude and are prepared to go the extra mile to make things happen.

However, it isn’t just about engaging with people. It’s about staying engaged with them, keeping the fire stoked.

And when achieved, this is the kind of positive, very measureable economic impact it has – nothing fluffy at all:

1. The CBI claims sickness costs the UK economy £13.4bn a year, with double the days lost amongst disengaged workforces

2. A CIPD report highlights that 70% of Engaged Employees know how to meet customer needs. This drops to 17% where disengaged

3. Gallup have established that 67% of Engaged Employees advocate their company with 68% actively recommending it against 3% and 13% of the disengaged

4. Engaged Employees are 87% less likely than the disengaged to leave an organisation.

This intuitively underpins what most people think. It also highlights the massive difference to an organisation it can make, which means it should be a topic at the top of most Leaders’ agendas.

So what are the techniques that can be used to help Leaders develop an engaged workforce?

1. Assessment – in a safe environment explore Leadership style and create an Action Plan to progress and improve it

2. Master Classes – share, with others, experiences and learn from peers

3. Coaching and Mentoring – explore the learning that comes when you look at something through different eyes

4. ‘In work’ Learning – refine an Action Plan based upon practical support of how others would provide solutions to real life problems

5. Shadowing and Exchanges – shadow peers in their place of work, learn from their approach and share outcomes to help both parties become more effective.

Think of it as a journey, rather than a programme.

To achieve an Engaged workforce is hard work, but the rewards that can be enjoyed are quite sensational.

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