Why bother with employee engagement? After all, despite efforts to the contrary survey after survey across the globe has revealed consistently low levels of engagement. So wouldn’t it be better just to cut our losses, accept that employees are disengaged and get on with the business of running the business?
Well perhaps it would; but only if you’re in business to deliver short-term results at the expense of business longevity, customer satisfaction, reputation, investor returns and growth. Ignoring employee engagement is like ignoring that funny little ticking noise in your car; it’s okay for a short while and then something lets go and all your car is fit for is the scrap heap.
Quite simply, the extent to which your employees are engaged affects every aspect of your business from profitability to internal and external relationships. So if it’s that important, and if businesses say they have been trying to improve it, why are engagement levels still so low? Sadly in all too many cases the answer is either that good intentions at the top of the organisation are not translated into actions on the ground or that the actions taken have been totally misdirected.
You see, it’s all very well running an annual employee engagement survey; but if no actions result then all you are building up is another cause for resentment. And whilst the leadership may put employee engagement as a priority on the annual report, if team and departmental leaders are demanding results within a pressured environment then as far as the employees are concerned the words are hollow at best. And do you really think that the table tennis table or snazzy relaxation chair is going to make any difference when employees see team leaders playing a game of one-upmanship in a bid for promotion whilst the executive team indulge in a grand round of passing the buck.
So you think you’re doing lots to build engagement but all the time your efforts are simply making things worse leading to;
- increased employee absenteeism
- increased staff turnover
- increased wastage
- falling profitability
- falling reputation
- internal strife
- low customer satisfaction levels
What’s the answer? Quite simply, stop trying to impose engagement and instead put it in the hands of those to whom it matters most, the employees. Of course, that’s a simplistic answer because unless the tone from the top actively promotes engagement, employees who try to build their own levels of engagement will find that their hands are tied. So the leadership has to assimilate engagement into their every action and decision and behaviour. Moreover, they have to ensure that the engagement ideal is spread throughout the organisation, infusing every leader at every level.
But even with this, engagement cannot be imposed, it has to come from the employees themselves. Self managed engagement programs not only help to boost levels of engagement, they also help employees to identify areas of improvement, in the process boosting innovation and customer excellence. Why bother with employee engagement? Quite simply because employees are the lifeblood of your future success.