While U.S. employee engagement reached its highest level in March at 34.1%, engagement levels have not exceeded 33% since 2012. Employee engagement is defined as the level at which employees are emotionally invested in, and focused on, creating value for their organizations every day. While there is an increased focus on the necessity and impacts of employee engagement, few organizations have taken action to ultimately grow engagement levels.
Here are three reasons why organizations must make employee engagement a top priority.
Managers matter most. In Gallup’s latest report, State of the American Manager, which is based on over four decades of extensive talent research, the crucial links between talent, engagement and key performance indicators (KPI’s) are examined to reveal the characteristics of great managers. The research reveals that managers account for as much as 70% of variance in employee engagement scores. This means that most managers are failing to create an environment in which employees feel comfortable and are motivated to perform at peak levels.
One of the most important drivers of employee engagement is clarity of expectations. It seems obvious that employees need more than a written job description to fully understand their roles and responsibilities, however the research shows that most employees are not discussing their responsibilities and progress with their managers often enough. The result is that employees may have dissonance about their duties and feel disconnected from the organization’s overall strategy and goals. Moreover, once annual performance review time arrives, it is nearly impossible for employees to focus on areas of growth for next year when they are uncertain about what may be thrown at them tomorrow.
Having a bad manager is a one-two punch. Dale Carnegie said, “Our thoughts make us who we are.” Employees who are not actively engaged at work often feel frustrated and disappointed, and can even become hostile. Worse yet, they take their misery home with them which maximizes stress levels and can be detrimental to their own—and their families’, health and well-being. On the other hand, actively engaged employees who communicate with their managers frequently and honestly exhibit higher levels of engagement. Gallup also found that employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not meet with them regularly.
Employees don’t trust managers who withhold company information. Another reason employees become disengaged is because managers withhold information. Failing to share company data—especially KPI’s, is not only detrimental because doing so stymies trust and weakens the manager-employee relationship, but because it impedes the employee’s ability to anticipate issues, make wise decisions and preform at peak levels.
At Dale Carnegie Training, we partner with organizations and individuals to help them effectively engage employees. In our Leadership Training for Managers program, participants learn how to communicate and coach effectively; improve listening and decision-making skills; recognize team success with enthusiasm, and learn the 8-step delegation process—in order to increase employee engagement levels.
Check out our upcoming Leadership Training For Managers courses