Today’s insights are brought to you by my colleague and Future of People expert Buhle Dlamini.
We are living and working in a ‘post’ world. Post Global Pandemic, which changed the way we work in fundamental ways that continue to impact us today. Post Racial Reckoning, which happened following the killing of George Floyd, resulting in global unrest and corporations having a moment of reckoning, with many vowing to end racial discrimination. Post Great Resignation, where millions of workers quit their jobs in search of new opportunities and new careers. The enduring impact of these worldwide events over the last few years have had a lasting impact on the collective psyche of the workforce.
“Labor productivity is down, according to new May data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor productivity — or output per hour — decreased 2.7% in the first quarter of 2023 for the nonfarm business sector, the sharpest decline in 75 years.”
– Forbes Magazine Article (While CEOs Blame Remote Work For Decreased Productivity, Here’s The Bigger Picture)
This is a major decline, the worst in 75 years! While we can try to come up with quick reasons why this is so, there are many: Burn-out, Pandemic Fatigue, Remote Work Isolation, High Cost of Living, Potential Recession, Massive Industry Layoff, the fact remains that no matter what is behind the low productivity trend, employees are more and more disengaged in their work and it is having a massive impact on their productivity.
What is Employee Engagement and Why Managers Should Care
- Employee engagement is the emotional commitment and involvement employees have toward their work and organisation. Leaders should care because the level of engagement from their employees and colleagues directly affects productivity, well-being and ultimately, profit and business outcomes.
- Impact on Productivity: Engaged employees tend to be more productive, delivering higher-quality work and contributing to overall organisational success.
- Retention and Loyalty: Fostering employee engagement increases the likelihood of employees staying with the company, reducing turnover and associated costs.
- Positive Work Environment: By prioritising engagement, managers can create a positive work environment that enhances morale, motivation, and collaboration among team members.
- Business Outcomes: Improved employee engagement leads to better business outcomes, including increased customer satisfaction, higher innovation, and greater profitability.
Examples of Companies Efforts on Improving Employee Engagement:
“Engagement is not a characteristic of employees, but rather an experience created by organisations, managers and team members.”
– Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report
Here are some of the examples that you might have heard about when the topic of Employee Engagement comes up:
Google: Google offers numerous initiatives to engage employees, such as allowing 20% of their time to work on personal projects and providing attractive perks like free meals, on-site gyms, and wellness programs.
Salesforce: Salesforce focuses on creating a strong sense of purpose and community among its employees. They encourage employees to participate in volunteer activities, offer opportunities for personal and professional development, and maintain transparent communication channels.
Zappos: Zappos places a significant emphasis on company culture and employee well-being. They have implemented a unique onboarding process and cultural immersion program to align employees with their core values.
Southwest Airlines: Southwest Airlines prioritises employee engagement through open communication, empowerment, and recognition. They involve employees in decision-making, promote a fun and supportive work environment, and celebrate individual and team achievements.
Great as these examples are, they are likely to leave most managers and leaders overwhelmed by the cost and resources required to achieve the task of keeping employees happy and engaged. But Employee Engagement should not be something out of reach for a leader of a small team without control of the budget of the entire organisation.
5 Key Tips to Increasing Employee Engagement with Minimal Resources:
1. Frequent Communication: Maintain open and transparent communication with employees. Regularly share updates, provide feedback, and listen to their ideas and concerns. This fosters a sense of trust, involvement, and engagement.
2. Recognition and Appreciation: Express appreciation for employees’ efforts and achievements, even through simple gestures like personalised thank-you notes or public recognition. Acknowledging their contributions boosts morale and engagement.
3. Professional Development: Offer opportunities for skill development and growth, such as online courses, job rotations, or mentoring programs. Even with minimal resources, you can provide learning experiences that empower employees and enhance engagement.
4. Empowerment and Autonomy: Delegate responsibilities and decision-making authority to employees whenever possible. Allowing them to have a say in their work and empowering them to take ownership fosters a sense of autonomy and engagement.
5. Employee Well-being: Prioritise employee well-being by promoting work-life balance, encouraging breaks, and showing empathy and support. Small gestures like flexible scheduling or wellness initiatives can make a significant impact.
Remember, even with limited resources, managers can implement these strategies to enhance Employee Engagement. Creating a supportive and engaging work environment doesn’t always require extravagant investments but rather thoughtful actions that prioritize employee well-being and empowerment.
Now Picture this:
Meet Emma, a visionary leader who understands the power of nurturing a workforce teeming with passion and purpose.
With her deep appreciation of principles of creating a giving culture, Emma has cultivated an environment where employees feel valued and empowered. She knows that engagement is not just a buzzword but a gateway to unlocking untapped potential within her team. Emma understands how small changes can yield remarkable results. Despite limited resources, she embarks on a quest to amplify employee engagement.
Emma emphasises the importance of frequent communication. She ensures her team is well-informed, fostering a sense of trust and transparency that fuels engagement. She also incorporates the power of recognition and appreciation into her leadership style. Through heartfelt gestures, she cultivates a culture of gratitude, reinforcing her team’s commitment and dedication.
Furthermore, Emma knows that growth and development are vital ingredients for engagement. Applying emphasis on professional development, she seeks out innovative ways to provide learning opportunities, even with minimal resources.
Incorporating insights on empowerment, Emma decentralizes decision-making authority, giving her employees a voice. This simple act ignites a fire within them, fostering a sense of autonomy and ownership. As a result, they become deeply engaged in their work, driving her company’s success to new heights.
Now, whether you find yourself managing a team or yearning to create an impact within your organisation, you can increase your team’s engagement.
Draw inspiration from Emma’s dedication and embrace the simple yet powerful principles she followed. Emphasise open communication, foster a culture of appreciation, prioritise growth, and empower those around you. Even with minimal resources, you possess the ability to unlock the hidden potential within your team and catalyse a wave of employee engagement.
So, what are you going to do today to boost employee engagement in your workforce?
Start with one engaged employee at a time.
About the author of today’s email – Buhle Dlamini.
The way we think about people working together in organisations continues to change. We need to apply new ways of thinking about all aspects of people working together: Teamwork, Organisational Culture, Belonging, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. That’s what the future of people is about!
Buhle Dlamini is an expert on the Future of People, helping organizations unleash the greatness of their people through keynotes, workshops and tailored engagements.