Maintaining a highly productive and innovative team is imperative to the success of your business. And, the most effective team is one that is fully engaged in the organization’s overall goals. In fact, a Gallup study found that organizations with an average of 9.3 engaged employees for every actively disengaged worker posted 147% higher earnings per share than their counter parts.
For some leaders, the importance of employee engagement is old news. In fact, 90% of business leaders believe an employee engagement strategy would have a positive impact on their businesses’ success; however, only 25% of those leaders even have a strategy, according to a study by Accor Services. While developing a culture of engagement at companies is important, it should prompt every business leader to ask the question: is company culture affecting our employee engagement?
The Role of Leadership
Entrepreneur Magazine defines company culture as “a blend of values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals, and myths all companies develop over time.” But boiled down, it is simply the beliefs and behaviors a company shares internally and externally. And the internal aspect of a company’s culture is what will affect employee engagement. Organizational leaders have a direct impact on employees’ investment and loyalty to a job. In a recent study, Towers Watson found that 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, while the same is said for only 18% of disengaged employees. Companies who have a culture of encouragement and development will have the edge moving forward, because they’ll have the innovative talent to do it. Gallup found that supervisors who focus on their employees’ strengths can basically eliminate disengagement.
Organizational Goals and Vision
The way an organization is perceived and how leaders manage their employees are major factors in culture, but they only paint a picture of the present state of business. Truly engaged employees want to grow with an organization and be a contributing factor in any future success. However, many workers aren’t even familiar with simple goals, let alone the overall vision of where the company wants to be in the future. Author and consultant William Schiemann of Performance Management: Putting Research into Action found that only 14% of organizations say their employees understand their company’s strategy and direction. Yet, disengagement is rampant, and organizations don’t understand why. Simply put, a business has to trust the vision with its staff in order for the staff to buy into the idea. This means having open communication with not just personal development goals, but organizational development goals. If you buy into your team, your team will buy into you.
Personalized Focus on Engagement
Worldwide, the United States and Canada have the most engaged employees, yet still the majority of workers are disengaged. According to a worldwide Gallup study, in North America, 54% of workers aren’t engaged, 18% are actively disengaged, and only 29% are engaged. But to build a corporate culture that encourages higher engagement in your workforce, you have to tailor fit it to your employees. Every person reacts differently to certain situations. For instance, while one person may excel under pressure, the next may crumble under the stress of the circumstances. Gallup found that different types of employees need different engagement strategies. Incidentally, older generations tend to be more engaged than younger ones. As well, higher-educated individuals are less likely to report positive experiences at work than their less-educated co-workers. The nuances in each individual’s situation make it more important to focus on a personalized engagement strategy by incorporating a culture that better fits your entire workforce.
This Threat Is Real
According to Gallup, active disengagement costs North America $450 billion to $550 billion per year. And with about 70% of the population not engaged at work, this is a real threat to your company’s bottom line. But instead of focusing on why your employees may or may not be meeting expectations, take the time to analyze what parts of your company’s culture may be hindering engagement. Your future success may just depend on it.
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