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How engaged are your employees?

The level of employee engagement is a crucial parameter for any organisation that wants to maximise its potential in the market space or achieve its objectives. How engaged are your employees?

The level of engagement is a billion-naira question. I do ask leaders and owners of organisations as a management consultant. From my experience across the continents, both as an executive coach and a business analyst, I can comprehend the level of engagement in any organisation and relate it to the dominant culture and performance of the entity.

Employee engagement is not a big word. It is simply the level of conscious involvement of employees in the organisation’s activities and the continuous belief in what the organisation is set to achieve. Organisations that believe their employees are their important asset, measuring and improving employees’ engagement should be part of the culture to ensure inclusiveness and for driving performance.

In 2017, Gallup carried out the most extensive survey on employee engagement. In the State of the Global Workplace report, only 15 per cent of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. That is, only 15 per cent of your workforce are emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for their teams and organisations every day (Gallup).

How will you feel if only 15 per cent of your staff is enthusiastically involved in making a difference in your team? What is the remaining 85 per cent doing if they are not bothered about the outcome of your business in the immediate future? Without a doubt, the result your team is generating could be doubled if the engagement level of your employees improved. The 85 per cent of the employees that are not fully engaged are a risk to the organisation’s level of performance and survival. They are equally an opportunity if they can be transformed into engagement employees.

Read Also: How employees’ wellbeing drives organizational performance

Imagine you have ten of your team members in a manual rowing boat sailing to a particular destination. Each of the ten team members has a wooden propeller to help navigate the rowing boat toward the agreed goal. The three staff in the front of the boat are propelling the boat at 90 per cent of their capacity in the forward direction. The four staff seated in the middle of the boat are not steering their propellers. They are onlookers and neutral people on board. The last three staff sitting at the back of the rowing boat are driving their propellers in the reverse direction. Theyeither did not get the initial terms of reference correctly or do not know what to do. Or pathetically, they know what to do but want to sabotage your efforts to deliver superior customer service and fulfil your brand promise to the stakeholders.

In the analogy above, three staff in the front are emotionally committed to the goal. They understand your mission, ready to live your core values, believe in your purpose and are committed to contributing their best for the team and the organisation. Thirty per cent of your ten key employees are putting in their utmost best efforts for the team. They are engaged employees. The four staff in the middle are neutral. They are in for the monthly salary while it last. They are in your meetings to mark attendance and show up for the pay. Their emotions and energy are no longer available for your organisation. Once again, they are neutral, hence the enemy in your team. A neutral man in a time of war is an enemy to be killed. These four apathetic employees are not engaged. The last three of the ten employees are actively disengaged. Rather than being neutral, they focused on undermining the efforts of your team. They have seen it all, and rather than seeing an engaged employee succeeding, they would instead want everyone to fail. This last category is the actively disengaged employees.

What would you do if you could measure and know the number of engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged employees in your organisation? Could you imagine if four out of the seven employees not involved in the rowing boat, dramaturgy is transformed into engaged and join forces with those on 90 per cent level of efforts and performance?

The summation of the behaviours of your employees and their level of engagement to your organisation is an indication of the dominant culture in your company. You cannot give what you do not have. The performance gaps of organisations are primarily people-oriented. People are so important that they make or mar all other tools and factors of production. One factor that influences engagement and that engagement influences is the culture of the organisation. Intuitively, your culture will eat your strategies except you align them. Where there is a conflict in culture and strategy, the dominant culture prevails above the best of strategies. However, one way to identify the need to improve an organisation’s culture is to measure and drive employee engagement.

Employee engagement is so critical because they shape the organisation’s culture, performance, and brand image. The Gallup research has shown that engaged teams have 17 per cent greater productivity and 21 per cent greater performance than the other teams.

Recently, I was involved in the organisational development of a business. The managing director of the new company says he has the company’s interest at heart. Still, he is more concerned about what comes to him. Rather than building an organisation, he was busy profiting from every project and decision. Hence, he is not engaged, and his behaviour is detrimental to the commitment and engagement of the other employees. Engagement is a total organisation concept better driven by the commitment of the topleaders in the organisations. People can see if you are engaged in your team’s objective or not.

Employee engagement can be measured, and there are proven ways of identifying the level of engagement in every organisation. Measuring engagement is the most practical starting point for any organisational change and development project. Would you instead measure your employee engagement for effective performance and productivity?

To be continued….

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