“Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.” Zig Ziglar
Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Organizations with high employee engagement outperform those with low employee engagement by 202%.
Sadly, Gallup’s annual engagement survey shows that an average of 64% of employees are not engaged, even though most of their companies have employee engagement programs.
This means that approximately 3 out of 5 employees are just going through the motions, which can have a devastating effect on organizational performance and profitability.
So, why are so many employees disengaged? What is missing from their work experience?
Sources of Employee Engagement
There are some basics that almost everyone needs to feel engaged, whether they are employees or managers.
They want to feel good about themselves. They want to be treated with respect and courtesy, that they are accepted as a valuable member of the organization. They want to do interesting work, that builds on their strengths and capabilities. They want to feel competent, that they have the knowledge and skills to effectively perform their jobs. They want to have choices and a sense of control over decisions that affect them. They want to feel successful, that they can fulfill their responsibilities and achieve their goals.
They want to feel that they make a difference, that what they do contributes to a larger positive mission. They want to be kept aware of everything that can impact the organization. They want to feel psychologically safe, that they are free to experiment and fail without repercussions. They want to feel that they can learn and grow, that they have opportunities for training and promotion. They want to feel appreciated, that their efforts and expertise are recognized and valued.
Reasons for Employee Disengagement
If these needs are not being satisfied on the job, Gallup points us to the primary reason: 70% of the variations in employee engagement scores have to do with their managers.
It can’t be repeated often enough: employees don’t leave organizations, they leave managers.
Employees become disengaged if their managers aren’t willing or able to meet their needs.
The satisfaction of most of the basic employee needs mentioned above is dependent upon managers who can communicate clearly, delegate effectively, provide necessary training and resources, create and maintain a positive psychologically safe environment, provide timely constructive feedback and coaching support, offer development opportunities, and recognize effort and achievements.
When managers lack the necessary interpersonal and management skills to effectively perform these essential activities, it is no wonder that their employees are disengaged. And since it is only human to avoid doing what we are unsuccessful at, it is also no wonder that the managers themselves become disengaged.
The Solution for Employee Engagement
I think the solution for having engaged employees can be summarized by these two simple equations:
Managers + effective interpersonal and management skills + success in their jobs= effective engaged managers
Effective engaged managers + [Employees + satisfied needs + success in their jobs] = engaged employees
When managers and employees are both set up for success, their engagement will naturally follow.
A major key to their mutual success is helping managers become more effective by building their interpersonal and management skills. Once managers are proficient, they will be better able to give their employees what they need to feel connected and committed to the organization.
If you would like to learn how structured in-house peer learning groups can help managers gain the skills they need in a timely and cost-effective manner, please contact Deborah Laurel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions: Do you feel that employee engagement programs are sufficient to ensure lasting employee engagement? Or do you agree that lasting employee engagement requires effective management by engaged managers?
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