Create a Culture of Engagement

November 17th, 2011 by Michael Page

With the season of gratitude upon us, I want to thank each and every one of you for working with Profiles Strategic Business Partners to take your organization to the next level. We strive to deliver unparalleled value to our clients at every level of our business.

This month we focus on engagement and its impact on the bottom line. Did you know that disengaged employees are 53% less productive than their engaged counterparts? Do you know who is engaged and who isn’t? How can you tell? Profiles can help!

This month’s feature article, Create a Culture of Engagement, tells you how to find out who’s engaged and who is not. You will learn about the three levels of engagement in an organization and the five action steps to improving engagement.

November’s feature project is the Workplace Engagement Survey to help you measure the degree to which your employees connect with their work and feel commitment to your organization and its goals. Engaged employees have eight distinctive behaviors to impact the bottom line and we are sharing those with you.

Woodmen of the World, a fraternal benefit organization and Profiles client shared a highly insightful case study where they used the Workplace Engagement Survey to boost engagement and performance as well as company morale. Download the full report to learn how they did it.

Featured Article

Create a Culture of Engagement

Over the past couple of years, challenging economic conditions have required organizations to tighten belts and do more with less. While we all accept these measures are necessary for survival, the added stress on rank-and-file employees has been excruciating. Leaders need to do all they can to ensure they foster an engaged workforce that will continue to move forward in spite of the challenges that lie ahead. Those that can pull people together will survive and thrive when times improve.

What is employee engagement?

The difference between engaged and disengaged employees may seem to be a matter of style or personality, but they are based on decisions rooted in loyalty and commitment to one or more levels of the organization. Disengaged employees not only negatively impact the bottom line, but they also misrepresent an organization and its culture.

There are three different levels that can be identified as locations of engagement in the workplace:

  1. Organizational – Mission, core values, and overall strategy of the company.
  2. Managerial – Leaders and managers in the organization.
  3. Employee – Front-line employees and teams.

Addressing engagement at each of these unique levels requires different actions. The remainder of this report will examine the different ways leaders can address engagement and motivate employees to be more committed and excited about their daily tasks.

1. Engagement at the organizational level

Improving employee engagement at the organizational level is strategic and tactical. Before you can attempt to change your organizational culture, you first must examine the current culture of your organization. An organization’s culture is its unique personality: the company’s core values, ethics and norms. The mission, vision, and strategy of your organization are important in identifying whether or not the culture of your organization supports engagement.

After identifying and defining your organization’s culture, you will need to implement five different actions that will help improve engagement at the organizational level:

  • Identify opportunities
  • Simplify solutions
  • Take action
  • Hold employees accountable
  • Commit to developing your employees

2. Engagement at the managerial level

Recognizing that the actions of senior leadership, managers, and supervisors are the key drivers of engagement, the act of engaging should be a part of every leader’s job profile and leadership skill set. Engagement may not be solely an internal motivation issue. There are job factors that affect the engagement of every employee. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have the right people in the appropriate leadership positions?
  • Is leadership development an issue?
  • Is it both of the above?

3. Engagement at the employee level

New generation leads to new strategies for engagement: One way to increase engagement at the employee level is to make sure you have the employee in a position where he can thrive and grow. This will result in greater productivity and commitment to the organization. To survive the demographic changes in the workforce you must rethink your workforce strategies and transform your management and human resource practices to attract, engage, and retain workers of all ages.

Target engaged employees: A target employee is one who has a good fit to her current job, is fully engaged on-the-job, and whose performance exceeds your expectations. The target employee not only achieves the goal, but has the ability to elevate the performance of other employees, team members, departments, and divisions.

Challenge and train employees: You may also need to think differently about challenging your employees. Research shows that managers are up to four times more engaged than front-line employees. This is due to the additional challenges managers face. Provide your employees with stretch goals, avoid micromanaging, and let them learn from their mistakes.

In order for employees to remain engaged, they need to be continuously stimulated. Every new experience you create for your employees is an opportunity for growth.

Bringing it all together

It is impossible to create a culture of engagement without knowing the personality and characteristics of your employees and managers. Leaders must be aware of the engagement levels of their employees. Assessments provide an opportunity to learn more about each employee and how they fit into their job and the organization.

Featured Product

Our Workplace Engagement Survey™ (WES) measures the degree to which your employees connect with their work and feel committed to the organization and its goals. This gives you and your management teams a detailed view of what influences engagement across all of your workforce segments and how your employees compare statistically to the overall working population. In addition, the WES measures “satisfaction with employer” and “satisfaction with manager” across your entire organization and gives recommendations for your organization to improve. Why survey your employees?

Employee surveys are becoming a popular management tool. They not only help management investigate whether employees align with corporate values, but they identify problem areas and elicit information to increase engagement. Employees who are highly engaged:

  • Excited and enthusiastic
  • More focused on their work than “watching the clock”
  • Give high levels of discretionary effort
  • Emotionally involved with the company
  • Mentally involved with company
  • Not easily distracted
  • Stay focused
  • Highly productive

Call your Profiles Strategic Business Partner to learn more about our Workplace Engagement Survey™.

Did You Know?

Disengaged employees are 53% less productive than their engaged counterparts.
Disengaged employees are 24% more likely to remain at their current employer.

Featured Case Study

In a period of layoffs, high unemployment and worker restlessness nationwide, Omaha-based Woodmen of the World is finding itself in the midst of a pretty cheerful scenario: its employees are highly engaged. Continuous workplace surveys show that engagement scores are increasing – from 71 in 2008 to 79 in 2011 – even though workers answered the survey questions during a particularly tough economic period.

These results at the historic fraternal benefit organization come from a vision that intentionally involves employees in decision-making.

Click here to download the full Case Study and learn more about how Woodmen of the World continues to increase employee satisfaction, management involvement and overall productivity.

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