I do, and it doesn't cease to amaze me!
Actually, I find it quite distressing - and not just because it makes explaining my business more difficult. You would think, wouldn't you, that in these tough economic times it would be right up there as a major concern for any half-decent, self-respecting business leader?
I am talking here about people who do not understand Employee Engagement or why it is an issue. I cannot tell you the number of business people I have spoken to who think of it as an abstract concept that maybe applies to public sector organisations but not to theirs. They think they have far more important concerns.
Well, whether you are one of the minority who does understand but need help to persuade others or whether you are someone who still needs convincing, the Accenture report "What Executives Really Need to Know about Employee Engagement" provides some useful research findings that will help to convince. Let's see how.
The first table gives us a succinct summary of the survey and its findings, and so provides a good launching pad for our purposes. It identifies 9 survey items with the percentage responding "always, every day" for each of the 9, as follows:-
• 47% - I am enthusiastic about providing a high-quality product or service
• 46% - I am determined to be complete and thorough in all my job duties
• 39% - I am always willing to "go the extra-mile" in order to do my job well
• 32% - I am prepared to fully devote myself to performing my job duties
• 30% - I am willing to really push myself to reach challenging work goals
• 29% - My job is a source of personal pride
• 26% - Trying to constantly improve my job performance is very important to me
• 26% - I am ready to put my heart and soul into my work
• 17% - I get excited about new ways to do my job more effectively
You may possibly want to make allowances for the "touchy-feely" nature of the questions and the subjectivity for a respondent trying to gauge their attitude. On top of that the numbers could also be understated by virtue of the fact that no-one will feel like this EVERY day and thus some respondents may have actually been more honest in not giving this answer. Even so they are hardly encouraging results, are they?
Of course it is by inverting these results that you can really get some feeling for their implications. For example, just think what the implications are for your business if nearly 70% of your people come to work each day and are NOT prepared to fully devote themselves to performing their duties. How then can you provide superior customer service? How can you be more responsive as an organisation if 70% of you people do not take personal pride in their work?
Those are the questions that I would be asking myself if I were in your shoes. But, even more importantly I would be asking myself, "What can I do about it?" That is why you should be looking at employee engagement as a greater priority.
(One place to start might be to figure out a way to stop people thinking about what they do as a "job." That is such a horrible word - made worse by the English use of "do a job" as meaning to have a crap! Seriously, how can you instil any sense of pride in people in what they do, if you use terminology that - albeit unconsciously - has such connotations?)
But forget the semantics. As the Accenture report shows, employee engagement is a serious issue and you need to recognise and address it. However, you do have solutions available; many of which, such as employee ownership, I have described elsewhere and in previous blogs. These can help you to meet the challenge and transform performance - individually and organisationally. What are you waiting for?