lackluster employee engagement

In my last job, every few months our management would send around a survey that was designed to take my “Engagement Temperature.” Basically, the company wanted to know my attitude, feelings, confidence, and opinion about my job, and how supportive I was of the direction that my work, my boss, my department, and the company was taking.

OK, so why is the headline so grim?  Why assume that employee engagement is lackluster?

Because it probably is.

These kinds of surveys are common in the corporate world, and often they have a specter of ominous dread. The Gallup 2012 employee engagement assessment showed that 67.5% of employees are ‘not engaged’ at work, including 17.5% who said they were actively dis-engaged — not a pretty picture.

But it’s not just a morale issue — it hits the bottom line. Hard. Putting aside the fact that your company’s culture and brand can be adversely affected, some studies have pointed to bottom line losses in the range of $450 billion to $550 billion. And most measures of productivity also take a hit when engagement levels are low.

So how do you build and keep engagement levels high? Because we all can point to plenty of examples of employee engagement ideas and programs that have failed, and some with spectacular costs associated with them.

Dan Pink says it’s AMP – In his book, Drive, he outlines how Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose are the secrets to happy employees at work. Which really comes down to letting employees be more than just cogs in the machine, but actually own their contributions to the business, and participate in real ways in the ‘why’ behind the company.

Gallup research says that your best bet is to hire the right talent in the first place, spend time and resources building their skills in a way that shows connection to your company’s purpose, and try to treat them like a whole human being with a body, a mind, emotions, and all that good stuff.

Interestingly, both these ideas center on the company having a clear and emotionally powerful reason for why they do what they do. After the company defines that central mission really well, employee engagement becomes a challenge of finding the right ways of helping the employee understand what they have to offer that fits into this mission, and how they can shine at delivering it.

Which really means that companies should be supporting their employees in developing strong personal brands, because as we’ve said before, the strongest personal brands are deeply connected with what a person has to bring to the world, and how they fit into it. So shouldn’t companies be assisting their employees in developing their personal brands in ways that support the company’s purpose?

Is it that simple? Is there any reason why it shouldn’t be?


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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.