No matter what, Gallup and all the other top firms report that only 30-35% of employees are ever engaged. Year after year we wake up to the news that only one third of employees in America actually enjoy going to work, and it is pretty much becoming the norm for the 21st Century.
Am I the only one who finds this incredibly depressing and unacceptable? If I may, what is the big holdup with the employers of the other 65-70%? This three-part blog series is meant to get all of us back on track by focusing in on the three big secrets to employee engagement. They may not seem like big secrets when you hear them, but the way some organizations struggle with engagement you would think that they were. In Parts One and Two we revealed two “big #$!@ing secrets”: BE NICE and SPEAK UP.
Here in our final entry we reveal the final secret, and that is MAKE IT COUNT. You can be nice all day long, you can speak up about accomplishments all day long, but it all has to count toward something. There has to be ongoing changes in response to the word on the frontline. There has to be earnest attempts to listen to and meet the needs of employees.
Simply put, don’t half-ass it. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and if you want to engage your employees well, it takes more than just a positive attitude. Following through and taking action is what really counts. A positive attitude is needed, a positive attitude certainly helps, but at the end of the day results matter, and if the results aren’t there, it all amounts to lip service.
The National Business Research Institute (NBRI) put together a well-curated list of the top 10 things employees dislike most about their jobs:
- Lack of Communication
- Unfair Pay
- No Job Security
- Incompetent Managers
- No Room for Advancement
- Overbearing Boss
If your goal is to get employees to like their jobs and show up every day wanting to do good work, then none of these ten things can be present. To put it bluntly, niceties will never make up for atrocities. Words are useful, words are wise, and words can turn someone’s day around, but if they count for nothing they are rendered powerless.
This is why top-down leadership on engagement is crucial to success. It’s easy enough to strike the right tone, but very difficult to then tune the entire orchestra to it. Keep in mind that managing people and their personalities has never been an easy task, and doing okay can feel like failing sometimes. It takes a lot of brain space, a lot of heart, and a lot of guts to really mix it up with people and work things out, but otherwise they will lose faith in the organization and its promises.
It behooves you to MAKE IT COUNT.
When you get an opportunity to engage an employee, here are your three big secrets: BE NICE, SPEAK UP, and MAKE IT COUNT. Once again, they don’t really seem like secrets at all, and that is exactly the point – many companies have lost touch of even these basic rules. Every aspect of engaging employees begins from these three foundations, and it should be a secret to no one.