Interesting post by the Gallup Management Journal on the "Five Ways to Improve Employee Engagement Now."
Only 13% of employees are engaged at work.
If an employee is not engaged, they're not likely to provide an outstanding customer experience.
If an employee doesn't provide an outstanding customer experience, you're not likely to have many satisfied customers.
If you don't have satisfied customers, your business is not going to be successful, at least not as successful as it could be.
Gallup suggests managers can help solve the problem and reap the benefits.
However, none of the five ways to improve employee engagement addresses what I've seen as the most important step to improve employee engagement -- c-level executives need to buy into, and model, the concept.
Much like c-level executives pay lip service to providing outstanding customer service, I have not seen many executives over the course of my career that believe in engaging or empowering employees.
I have worked for one firm that did a good job. Likewise, I worked for a firm that thought they did but did not. This firm was heavily siloed and missed tremendous opportunities with clients.
I concur with Gallup that increasing employee engagement should be a strategic priority since it affects key business outcomes -- including revenue and profitability.
If employee engagement is a strategic priority, then every member of the management team needs to ensure they are in alignment with regards to the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of the company.
Most of the time there is not, and members of the management team are not open to the lack of alignment being exposed.
If the CEO, CFO, COO, CMO and other members of the management team are not in alignment with regards to the firm's vision, mission, values and strategic positioning, there is no way the employees will be aligned.
The lack of alignment results in lack of engagement for employees much like the lack of consistent presentation of the brand to the consumer leads to a lack of trust.
If employees are not receiving a consistent message from the management team, and their manager, they will be confused, lose trust in management and be disengaged.
As such, before a firm takes the five steps to improve employee engagement, they need to:
- Agree to make it a strategic priority; and,
- Ensure their management team is in complete alignment with regards to the vision, mission, values and strategic positioning of the firm.
Here are the five steps Gallup recommends taking to improve employee engagement:
- Use the right employee engagement survey. Gallup has a twelve question survey they sell. I prefer a three question eNPS (employee net promoter score) survey, the same one we use with customers, for several reasons.
- Focus on engagement at the local and organizational levels. This is where executive buy-in is critical so people in the field are getting a consistent message.
- Select the right managers. Do managers understand the value of employee engagement and empowerment and model best practices? Do the c-level executives buy-in? If they don't, no one else will.
- Coach managers and hold them accountable for their employees' engagement. This is why it's important to measure employee engagement and reward managers who have engaged and empowered employees.
- Define engagement goals in realistic, everyday terms. This is an incentive to keep your vision, mission, values and strategic positioning simple and concise so everyone can remember them and understand their role in bringing them to fruition.