A groundswell is building when it comes to acknowledging that the engaged workforce is one of the keys to success in the 21st Century. Research is everywhere connecting the dots of engagement, productivity and profitability.
“Employee engagement has emerged as a critical driver of business success in today’s competitive marketplace. Further, employee engagement can be a deciding factor in an organization’s success. Engaged employees work harder, are more loyal and are more likely to go the ‘extra mile’ for the corporation,” according to research done by Nancy R. Lockwood, Manager, HR Content Program, Society for Human Resource Management.
The Department for Business Innovation & Skills says, “Effective employee engagement equals business success. It is a very practical way of strengthening your business’ productivity, innovation, attendance rate and voluntary turnover.” Their research additionally showed that engaged employees generate 43% more revenue than disengaged ones.
The truth is, employees are always engaged in doing something; the question is – in doing what? Gallup’s research shows that one-third of the workforce is engaged in working, almost a majority of 49% is not engaged and 18% are disengaged. So if only 33% of your workforce is engaged in meeting your goals and expectations, are the remaining 67% actively engaged against you or at minimum, in something else?
The 49% or your unengaged workforce is also engaged but in distracted engagement. They could be engaged some of the time in work and at other times in worrying about a family issue, their latest text message, social media postings, their “bad hair day” or a bothersome co-worker. However, their engagement is definitely not focused on your job at hand. And, what about the disengaged. They too are engaged on something. Is what they are focusing on sabotaging your productivity and profitability?
The biggest problem facing leadership and management today is not just an engaged workforce but a focused engaged workforce. An engaged workforce does not necessarily mean they are focused on the results you want.
Re-defining the Workplace Environment
The “flow of focus” is a major component of the engagement discussion. It is not just about workforce engagement but rather it’s about focusing their engagement. Focus has a flow, which needs to be unleashed, harnessed and controlled in a way that is beneficial to both the company and the workforce. The “flow of focus” is about creating workplace environments that foster an engaged focused workforce.
Engage! The organization’s vision and goals are not a “C” Suite exclusive. While most employees are usually informed about a company vision they usually have little or no say in creating it and often do not understand it. It is typically poorly communicated and
rarely shows a crucial link between the vision and their job. Those who do not understand how their daily work expectations fit into the corporate vision are generally not engaged, not involved or do not care if they contribute to the desired result much less exceed expectations.
The engaged workforce should participate at all levels in not only the preparation of the company vision but in the process of communicating it throughout the organization as well as executing the steps necessary to successfully accomplish the vision. When they are directly engaged in the process, they stop “just going through the motions” and get involved in creating the outcome.
Encourage! Encouragement comes in many forms and from many levels throughout an organization. A kind word of encouragement can make a difficult job easier, an impossible feat accomplishable and a monotonous repetitive job important. Encouragement is an action word, not a passive word. It means “get up out of your chair and go talk to your team members” or call them with positive feedback, not just drop them a quick email. A publically recognized good job well done will overcome long hours, less pay and monotony.
Another form of extremely effective encouragement is to reach out to employees to obtain your their opinions, viewpoints, insights, ideas and feedback. They are encouraged because they feel like they are part of the team and that leadership and management care about them enough to ask their opinion, not just make what seems like arbitrary decisions.
Involve! Employees that are involved in the organization’s vision and in creating its future need to have their voices heard. They are always involved in something so it is important to keep them involved in the company vision and goals throughout the day making them more efficient and focused. The more personal interaction you have with your workforce the more involved and engaged they become.
One of the best ways to have an involved focused workforce is to have management actually spend 80% of their time with the workforce. When management spends time in direct contact with the workforce, engagement, encouragement and involvement levels all increase and a large percentage of the unengaged 49% also becomes engaged and focused on what you want to accomplish.
Once your workforce is fully engaged, encouraged and involved in the objectives and goals of the organization, and the organization is engaged and involved in the needs of the workforce, a “flow of focus” is created which results in improved productivity and profitability. When an employee is given an opportunity to participate, they feel empowered and respected or “liked” as in Social Media vernacular.
The benefits of building a workplace environment where your workforce is not only engaged but focused on what you want are enormous. By harnessing the “flow of focus” in the engaged 33% of your workforce and then building a fertile environment to engage
another 80% of that unengaged 49%, you dramatically improve your productivity while significantly increasing your profitability.
© Pat Heydlauff, all rights reserved 2011
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She creates environments that engage and focus your workforce. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage, Unleash the Power of Focus and Feng Shui, So Easy a Child Can Do It and can be reached at www.Energy-by-Design.com or call: 561-408-2708.Share