Employee engagement is one of the greatest challenges facing businesses today. Don’t believe it? Just look at the numbers. Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace 2017 report, only 33% of employees were engaged in 2016, up only 3 percent from the year before. Even if you aren’t good with numbers, it is easy to see those aren’t adding up to business success. CEOs, leaders, and communicators recognize the need to strengthen connections with employees to inspire performance, deepen brand loyalty and drive retention. But how do they do it? According to a recent Harvard Business Review story, organizations are “spending hundreds of millions of dollars on employee engagement, yet their scores on engagement surveys remain abysmally low.” If money isn’t the answer, is there another solution? While attending the IABC Convergence Summit it was interesting to hear how some of the Twin Cities sharpest business communicators are addressing the issue. One of the more intriguing models was presented by Mark Kretschmar, ABC, Communication Strategist, They Understand LLC. He laid out a series of “drivers” that help create an energized and engaged employee:
- Present meaningful work
- Create a strong culture
- Give responsibility/empowerment
- Prioritize recognition
- Value managerial input/engagement
Those concepts are pretty straightforward and, at the core, are very powerful. Any business that is able to create an emotional attachment with its employees, help them understand the company’s values, goals and how they can contribute, and motivate them to go above and beyond has the makings for an engaged workforce. In the end, maybe simplicity is best. If leaders are able to help employees see the future of the company, get them excited about that future and, most importantly, ensure they see a role as part of the future, the engagement number will rise and productivity will follow.