engaged employees

Are your employees engaged?

If the answer is “no”, don’t worry you’re not alone.  According to a well-known Gallup study, only 32% of employees in the U.S. are engaged at work, 52% are apathetic and 16% are actively disengaged.  One study also notes that companies with the most engaged teams outperform their peers by 147%. 

How do you know if your employees are engaged?  

Gallup defines engaged employees as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace”.   Those who are actively disengaged are openly negative about the company and workplace. The middle set just don’t care. 

Employees who are not engaged can’t help you get the business where you want it to go. They can’t help you because they don’t understand how what they do on a daily basis connects with the higher purpose of the company. When they don’t have a purpose, it’s just a job.  Their work doesn’t fulfill the human need to be part of something larger than themselves. 

How do you re-engage your employees?  

First by spending time developing your brand purpose, your company’s reason for being.  The “Why” of what you do.  For deeper understanding read Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why”.  Why is not about profits, it’s about a purpose, a cause, the difference you want to make in the world.  Every single person in your company needs to deeply understand and resonate with your Why.

One of the examples I like is Tesla’s:  “Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

As Tesla founder Elon Musk himself put it: “Put­ting in long hours for a corporation is hard. Putting in long hours for a cause is easy.”

Next, define your “How” – the company culture, the values on which every employee from the receptionist to the CEO, makes decisions on the company’s behalf.  Involve your team in developing the company values.  Define what you mean exactly by each value, as it relates to customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. How do you live the value?   

In 2014 CVS pharmacy stopped selling cigarettes in its stores because it was out of alignment with their core value of helping people improve their health.  This decision was costly to make, but they could not continue operating with this glaring misalignment.  Since that decision was made, overall cigarette sales in markets where CVS had at least a 15% market share, overall tobacco sales are down 1%.  That’s 5 fewer packs per smoker and 95 million fewer packs per year.  CVS went on to spend millions on anti-smoking initiatives.  That’s how you live your values.  When employees are aligned at a values level in a company like CVS, they become alive and engaged and everyone benefits.

Third, be very clear about your ”What”.  The What is the delivery of the product or service your company provides. What are the company’s long term and annual goals?  How does what every employee does on a daily basis contribute to fulfilment of those goals? What are the quarterly goals of every employee? What are the action steps needed to fulfill those goals this week, and today?  Who is holding accountability for each employee?  

To determine the impact of engagement in your organization, get in touch to get a free survey.

Lisa Walker, Certified Lead With Purpose Coach