Did you know that a huge Gallup study covering 30 years and 17 million workers found that there are three key types of employees? Yep, that’s it. Three.
- Engaged: This type of employee works with passion and feels a profound connection to the company.
- Not Engaged: Checked out, sleepwalking through the day, putting in hours instead of energy. In other words, zombies that are eating your profitability instead of brains.
- Actively Disengaged: Simply put. People who are miserable at their jobs. They actively undermine coworkers and sabotage projects.
How would you characterize your workforce?
Most businesses right now have teams full of zombie employees. In addition to not understanding how to drive employee engagement, workplaces happen to be full of people just waiting until the economy picks up steam before they jump ship. Instead of deeply involving themselves in their work, these disengaged employees show up, put in their hours, do the minimum amount required to not get fired, and go home feeling unsatisfied and frustrated. Business leaders know it too. They feel exhausted by the thought of “herding cats” or treading water just to stay afloat.
Every business leader wants a team of engaged employees. And guess what? Every employee desperately wants to be engaged and connected to their work. So why aren’t more companies staffed with enthusiastically engaged team members?
- Employee engagement has to start at the top. If the leadership team isn’t engaged nobody else will buy it either.
- Mission and vision statements mean nothing. They are something written for a website, slapped up on the wall, and quickly forgotten. The effort that went into creating that means nothing unless the mission and vision are lived authentically by leadership.
- HR focuses on the bottom line instead of employees. Our world is changing. If you want employees that behave like they would rather be anyplace else, strict working hours and punishment for having a life outside the office are the fastest way to get you there. Engaged employees don’t feel like they have to choose work or life. The company supports the whole person knowing that the effort put in at the office will increase if employees aren’t beating themselves up over missing another dinner with the family.
- Poor communication. If your employees aren’t hearing from you regularly they assume you have forgotten about them.
- Lack of feedback. Nothing turns a company around faster than a great feedback program. Employees want to perform well – everyone does when they think about it. Yet all too often we hold employees back by not providing critical information to let them know how to improve and remind them that we know they exist.
- Little or no planning. An employee knows when the ship is drifting along. Initiative fades quickly when management isn’t sure if an idea fits into the plan, or if the course of the company changes so frequently that previous work proves to be a waste of time and energy. Leadership needs a thoughtful, committed strategic plan designed to guide the company and the employees toward the larger vision.