How to Drive Employee Engagement Up – Instead of Down

September 23rd, 2013


No company is actively trying to drive down employee engagement. But the results from Gallop’s 2013 “State of the American Workplace” report paint a grim picture – only 30 percent of workers admit to being fully engaged at work. That means more than half of employees in this country are actively disengaged (20%) or not engaged (50%) during the workday. These responses were polled from almost 150,000 people across different states and different industries. The results can’t be ignored.

It’s no secret that when employee engagement goes down, so does you company. So how can you make sure that your employees aren’t a part of that 70 percent of disengaged employees? It’s the million-dollar question – or rather the billion-dollar question. Gallop estimates that disengagement costs the US $450 billion to $550 billion annually. Dr. Jim Harter, Gallop’s chief scientist of workplace and well-being, spoke with FastCompany about what exactly is driving engagement down instead of up. Here are the three things Harper suggests to ensure that your employees are engaged:

1. Measure Engagement.

From your highest-paid employees down to your entry-level newbies, companies must measure engagement. After all, statistics like the one above may seem shocking, but it will come as even more of a shock when you see numbers related directly to your company. The results will likely inspire you to spring into action immediately. And thanks to your new survey – or whatever metrics you put into place – you should be able to identify the problem areas and remedy them.

2. Make Sure Your Company’s Leaders are Great Managers.

A company’s success hangs on effective and inspiring managers, according to Harter. He stresses importance on “the people” instead of “the process.” While tenure and previous successes often land experienced employees in managerial roles, sometimes their lack of ability to lead and inspire is overlooked. The best managers understand that their own success relies on the successes of their staff. These are the kind of people who need to be in leadership roles.

3. Meet Your Employee’s Basic Needs.

Harter defines four important factors each and every employee needs. Firstly, employees need a role that utilizes their talents and their strengths. Secondly, employees need a set of clear expectations once for their role. Next, employees need tools to accomplish their duties – from emotional support to mental knowledge to technology. Lastly, employees need praise and recognition. And they need it often. (P.S. Here are ten easy ways to reward your top employees.)

Even though the statistics on employee engagement are grim, the good news is that Harter is optimistic for the future. Companies that start focusing on employee engagement often see a huge increase in their statistics over time, which often exceeds the national average. And as we’ve seen from his anecdotes, the keys to increasing employee engagement are all within every company’s reach. You can measure engagement. You can appoint great managers into leadership roles. And you can provide the basic necessities for each of your employees. The road to stellar engagement is a long one and it’s a bit of an uphill battle, but the journey is well worth it.

What are ways your company engages employees? Share them below.

 About ABR

ABR Employment Services provides employment opportunities to job seekers and staffing solutions to employers throughout Wisconsin and in Winona, MN. ABR provides temporary, try-before-hire and direct hire job opportunities in: customer service, data entry, receptionist, office assistant, administrative assistant, assembly, packaging, machine operator, warehouse, janitorial, CNC, welder, forklift, maintenance, and call center. Connect with us on Facebook or LinkedIn for job seeking tips and advice.


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