Data substantiating the link between employee engagement and business results continues to proliferate; helping to raise the profile of this important subject. And, as a result, more and more is being done to improve employee engagement. Yet, despite this, surveys by Gallup and others continue to show scant improvement. Year after year around 70% of the workforce remains disengaged.
As a business leader you have to ask yourself, “why?” If the figures aren’t improving, despite all your best efforts and the resources you are investing in employee engagement, you have two basic questions you need to get to grips with:
- Is your effort justified?
- Are you going about it the wrong way?
I have certainly encountered those who say that “people should simply be grateful to have a job and if they don’t like the way things are around here, I can always find someone else who will be happy to have work.” The extent to which such thoughts start to percolate in your thinking, the more likely you are to conclude that employee engagement is simply a waste of time, and thus to cease your efforts.
Before you succumb to that temptation, however, you need to consider the second question more deeply. All that data that links employee engagement to results compels you to do so. Furthermore your own instincts should tell you the same thing. On top of which the infamous “war for talent”, which makes getting the right people so much more important, virtually demands that you do more to attract the kind of employees you need. So could you just be going about it the wrong way?
Let’s go back to your instincts for a moment. The following diagram articulates those instincts and shows that they don’t just come from “your gut” but are actually based in sound logic.
The picture depicts the 5 essential elements of business sustainability. If you don’t get these right, the chances of your business surviving reduce dramatically. And, as you can see, they are all dependent on people.
These are where you, as a business leader, need to focus. And, to be an effective leader, you need to get your people to have the same focus. Consequently your emphasis should be on building the common purpose to ensure that. Unless they are focussed on cementing that common purpose, your employee engagement initiatives are actually a diversion. They detract from what you are trying to achieve.
That is why my employment engagement model starts from the business side. It compels you to focus on these elements and so ensures you have a clear purpose. This makes it easier to get your people to “buy-in.” When you do that you have engendered the employee engagement which, the data shows, is the foundation for solid teamwork that gives you the organisational integrity to deliver your strategy, transform your results and sustain your success.