Foster Engagement Through Communication

 In Human Resources

Should employee engagement concern small businesses? According to the 2017 “State of the American Workplace” report from Gallup, that’s a big “Yes.” Recent statistics from this data suggest the U.S. is undoubtedly in the “midst of an employee engagement crisis.”

Over Half of Workers Not Engaged

Data collected from over 195,000 employees as well as 31 million respondents to the company’s Q12 Client Database reveal that close to 70 percent of U.S. employees remain unengaged at work. Specifically, 51 percent report not being engaged, so they are just taking up space and 16 percent acknowledge they are actively disengaged. That leaves only 33 percent of workers who feel involved, committed and interested in their work.

Why it matters is because of the many benefits engaged employees provide to a company of any size. Gallup found that higher employee engagement paid off in the following key performance areas: 41% lower absenteeism, 24% lower turnover, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profitability.

It’s important to note that the Report also only found 29 percent of managers are engaged in the workplace. The lack of engagement by supervisors could have a trickle-down effect and cause a lack of engagement by their direct reports. The impact is significant as employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59 percent more likely to be engaged in their work.

Managers Critical to Employee Commitment

Clearly, the role of supervisors is expanding and dramatically changing in today’s workplace. Good managers need to be more than taskmasters. They need to be coaches who understand how to develop and motivate each individual team member. Supervisors often are moved into leadership positions because they excelled at their previous duties, not because they have the skills and abilities that make a good coach or manager.

So businesses need to recognize the importance of a good manager skill set and provide training to managers to deliver in leadership roles. It requires a little coach the coaches first. Company leaders need to provide clear expectations, training and tools to help managers be well equipped to motivate employees. Making coaching a part of supervisors’ daily routines will create conditions vital to facilitating engagement and high performance.

Improve Engagement Through Conversations

It can all start with a conversation. Managers can implement several different types of conversations with employees to help drive and sustain individual and organizational performance over time. Human Resource professionals and business leaders offer these tips on what to say:

Quick Connects: During informal conversations with individual employees, informal meetings or weekly team huddles, managers should discuss what fulfillment means to them personally and then ask that of their team. Give everyone a chance to contribute and be heard.

Ask team members to articulate what their own personal purpose is and what values are most important to each of them. Use this to make further connections with direct reports and as a guide for future professional development discussions.

Ask what barriers exist that are affecting individual fulfillment and performance. Identifying barriers and addressing those in the control of a manager can create a culture of trust and loyalty.

Developmental coaching: This is a chance to guide employees to improve their performance through individual growth. Ask team members what areas they want to grow in? What challenges they want to take on?

Be a coach and implement an individual developmental plan that creates mutually agreed upon objectives and goals. Ensure feedback from others is provided and shared to help create valuable coaching conversations between supervisors and team members.

Progress Reviews: Provide a formal review of employees’ progress on goals. Use this time to inquire about project timelines, priorities as well as future expectations and specific needs for success.

Source: Credit Union Magazine. Engage Employees Through Conversation. Oct. 2017. P12.

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