Get Engaged: The ABC’s of Employee Engagement

Get Engaged: The ABC’s of Employee Engagement

How many of your employees are actively engaged? Probably not as many as you may think. According to research from Gallup, only 31.5% of employees are fully engaged, 51% are not engaged, and 17.5% are actively (deliberately) disengaged. Lack of engagement results in loss of time, lower productivity, reduction in quality, lower energy levels (Do you want low energy people engaging with your clients?), and strains on resources (others picking up the slack, increased stress levels, etc.) – the things most organizations don’t have to spare.

An engaged employee is committed, involved, and excited about their job. They are invested in the business and understand how their performance directly contributes to the goals, vision, and mission of the firm. They actively seek ways to better serve clients and improve performance.

Research shows that organizations with high engagement have 25-65% lower attrition rates. In addition, these organizations are more productive and achieve higher customer satisfaction levels. Employee engagement goes way beyond employee behavior and satisfaction; it has a direct impact on business performance.

Improving employee engagement isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Other research indicates there are three basic elements that result in disengagement: lack of basic needs (fair compensation, work place conditions), organizational performance (strategic alignment, quality and performance standards), and management (communication, accountability, feedback). To improve engagement in your organization, follow the ABC’s (and XYZ’s).

Advancement – Engaged employees see a future with the firm. Have a clearly defined career path, so team members see and understand how to advance.

Benefits - Engaged employees feel appreciated and secure. Offering competitive compensation and benefits can help improve engagement and retention.

Culture – Your firm’s culture directly affects the level of engagement within your firm. Does it foster creativity, growth, flexibility, and learning? A strong culture fosters engagement and can compensate when other elements are lacking.

Direction – What is the direction of the firm? Has that been clearly communicated? Engaged employees are aware of the direction of the firm and are committed to achieving it.

Engage – How can team members get directly engaged? Can they join a networking group, community service projects, or small group? Get them directly engaged and involved with the firm.

Flexibility – Engaged employees enjoy flexibility. Employees that experience some sense of flexibility in when and where they work have greater job satisfaction, stronger commitment, and higher levels of engagement.

Goals – Your team’s performance should be directly tied to goals. Set individual goals and explain how they contribute to the goals of the organization.

Hone in on Skills – Managers can improve engagement by honing in on the specific skill sets of their team. Give them the opportunity to shine by assigning tasks where their skills are needed most.

Invest – You can’t expect an employee to invest in the firm, when the firm is not invested in them. Invest in your employees.

Job Function – Clearly define job functions, processes, and expectations. Engaged employees know what is expected of them and work hard to meet those expectations.

Knowledge – Increase engagement by educating your team. Help them grow their skills and knowledge of the business.

Listen – Engaged employees have a voice. Listen to their concerns, comments, and ideas. Allow for input and ask for feedback.

Manage – Strong management leads to higher engagement. How is information shared? Do colleagues see themselves as equals? Does leadership set the right example?

New Opportunities – As employees develop new skills, are there new opportunities available? Employees want to grow professionally, and offering new opportunities through promotions, projects, or even new departments can improve engagement.

Open Communication – Consistent and constant communication is connected with higher engagement.

Praise – Congratulate and recognize employee accomplishments to improve engagement.

Quick Feedback – Employees want feedback. They want to know when they are right and want to be corrected when they are wrong. Provide quick and constant feedback. Don’t let things fester.

Reward – Reward your team members for a job well done. Acknowledge hard work often and, preferably, in front of others.

Support – Employees want and need support. They want a team that has their back.

Trust – Employees must trust leadership. Does your behavior as a leader align with the vision of the firm? Are you ‘walking the talk?’

Understand – Employees need to understand and relate to firm values. Consistently remind employees what the firm stands for and how that translates into their actions and behaviors.

Vision – Engaged employees care about the vision of the firm. They are invested in the future of the company.

Work-Life Balance – Leadership must understand that work life is not their only priority, especially for Millennials. They seek better work-life balance. It contributes to their overall happiness and satisfaction with a firm.

eXcitement – Engaged employees like their work. They are excited about their job. If not, they will leave.

analYZe behavior – Organizations with engaged employees are aware of specific behaviors, cultural norms, and attitudes throughout the firm. Leadership must analyze behaviors to identify where improvements can be made.

Take a look at your organization. Which of your team members are actively engaged, which are on the fence, and which are actively disengaged? What factors promote or hinder engagement? Gather feedback from your team members. Ask them for ideas to improve engagement. Look at the list of hindrances and identify ways to mitigate or circumvent those elements. Review the abc’s and address them, immediately. In such competitive conditions like most professional service firms are experiencing, particularly around the attraction and retention of top talent, increasing employee engagement isn’t a ‘nice to have,’ but a ‘must have.’

Want to discuss how your firm can improve employee engagement? Call us.