Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Big "F" in Employee Engagement

In the prior blog I laid out the surprisingly high value of employee engagement.  Clearly a company is better off if all employees are highly engaged (giving you their discretionary effort and discretionary thinking).   Over the past 10 years companies around the world, recognizing the financial impact of high employee engagement, have implemented employee engagement programs.  These programs typically include these components:

  • Share Leadership Vision 
  • Shared values and guiding principles 
  • Recognition and reward system 
  • An effective communication plan
  • Accountability around SMART goals
  • Demonstrated respect, trust
  • Frequent feedback
  • Leaders who Listen
  • Clear expectations

These all sound like the right things to be doing.   The goal isn’t to go from 25% of employees fully engaged to 32% of employees fully engaged.  That would be a solid failing grade.  An effective program should get you into the hight 90 percentile. So how are we doing?  From time to time, companies that perform employee engagement surveys for their clients accumulate the data and report the results.  So how are we doing?

Clearly we’re not getting to that 90% range.  In fact, we are earning a solid "F".   All these things we are doing like Reward and Recognize, Set SMART goals, Demonstrate Respect, etc., feel like the right things to be doing.  But the data would suggest that something is missing.  We have not delivered the right strategy to get to high levels of employee engagement.  However, we know a handful of companies achieve that.  They have close to 100% of their employees fully engaged.  Perhaps we should think about what they do differently, and what is missing in our employee engagement programs.  
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