The statistics are startling.
Towers Perrin reported that 21 percent of employees are actively engaged, eight percent are fully engaged and 71 percent fall into two categories: partially engaged or disenchanted. The Gallup Poll [PDF] indicated that lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $350 billion annually.
Demographics of Engagement
Engagement levels vary according to age and tenure, according to a Blessing White 2011 employee engagement report. Older workers and workers in positions of authority and power are more engaged. Partially engaged or disengaged employees can impact morale, productivity, create turnover and decrease commitment and innovation.
Benefits of Engaged Employees
Engaged employees are more productive, provide better customer service and are committed to the company. With engaged employees, turnover is reduced, resulting in reduced recruiting and training costs. Overall, having an engaged workforce translates into commitment and an organization with a positive morale that works toward success.
How to Engage Your Workforce
1. Collaboration and Management
Increasing employee engagement can be accomplished through collaboration with management and human resources. The first step to take is to ensure employees have trust in and positive working relationships with senior managers and direct supervisors. This can be achieved by creating a culture of openness and participation.
2. Mission, Meaning and Ownership
Keeping the mission of the organization visible for everyone to see and holding retreats involving all employees can promote employee engagement. In addition, companies need to ensure that employees have meaningful work and a sense of ownership.
3. Connections and Recognition
The ability to network, options for career development, and opportunities to engage in company gatherings can enhance employee engagement. Offer mentoring to employees who are interested in developing new skills for future opportunities. Recognizing employees and rewarding excellence in service are more ways to gain commitment.
4. Address the Challenges
Flexible work schedules to assist employees with work/life balance and creating wellness programs are other ways to address challenges that employees face.
Lastly, communication is key to employee engagement. Communication from senior leaders as to how the company is doing, involving employees and giving feedback are all part of a communication plan.
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