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Solving the Employee Engagement Challenge

Jason Diamond Arnold

March 14, 2018

Leaders everywhere are scrambling to find solutions to their employee engagement challenges. Unfortunate numbers reported by organizations like Gallup continue to spur efforts. For example:

  • In 2016 only 33% of surveyed employees reported being engaged at work
  • From 2012 to 2016, employee engagement has only increased 3%

Both show waning engagement hasn’t yet been addressed in a way that leads to lasting change. We’ve been discussing it for years, creating programs and task forces, but nothing has done the trick. At least, nothing that works on a larger scale.

Over a third of organizations are naming #engagement as their number one business challenge. It’s time we find a solution:Tweet This!

Focused on Employee Engagement

Though only 39% of HR leaders feel that senior leadership prioritizes engagement, over a third of organizations are naming engagement as their number one business challenge. Even over turnover, recruitment, succession planning, culture and performance - probably due in part to the fact that employee engagement can solve each and every single one of them.

Gallup’s research calculated that disengaged employees cost anywhere from $450 to $550 billion in productivity each year. Meanwhile, 73% of actively disengaged and 53% of not engaged employees are looking for new jobs or are open to new opportunities. That turnover racks up an estimated $11 billion to organizations.

Productivity. Retention. Both of these equate to big budget expenses for an organization. Tack on the candidate driven market we’re working under and you’ve got a recipe for talent acquisition and performance management disaster.

Employee Engagement Challenges = Solved

In many cases, the employee engagement tactics we’ve been seeing in headlines and gaining traction are, for lack of a better word, shallow. They scratch the surface of what it takes to be an employee who is connected to their work. These trends, for example, point to company culture that surrounds fun office environments, happy hours and gym memberships. While culture is critical, the company culture your employees hope to fit within is far more reliant on elements like values and mission - not the trendy amenities.

To improve the employee engagement problem, we need to dig deeper. In all the shuffle of building these modern company cultures, we overlook one of the most critical factors in engaging your workforce: setting goals. Employees who are granted the chance to grow their skills according to what they find meaningful are more committed to the organization who provides the growth.

Side Note: If your employees respond well to the environment you have created around those benefits, don’t count them out completely. Instead, focus on those work values and motivators that create a strong foundation for those extra elements.

Focus on your employees’ work values and motivators to see performance and #engagement skyrocket and use goal setting to keep them aligned to your #businessstrategy. Discover tactics for both here:Tweet This!

Employees Onboard

Think about it this way: employees want meaning and purpose, and the autonomy to achieve both in accordance to skills and knowledge. Even if they don’t plan to remain at your organization, you can bet they’re trying to learn and gather skills that will help them in the next step. If your organization capitalizes on that interest, you will develop highly-qualified and knowledgeable employees who work for your success and support your organizational performance.

This shouldn’t be looked at in terms of the traditional upward mobility of organizations from the past. Lucrative careers and skill development doesn’t mean becoming a leader or manager. Employees are driven by the challenges that fit within their interests. Collaborative goal setting draws that intersection between the two. It allows workers to explain their own professional objectives, while presenting leadership with opportunities to connect them to the organization’s goals and financial success. And remember that those with exceptional performance don’t always make exceptional leaders.

Part of the art in creating your organization’s development and goal setting structure lies in finding what works for your unique workforce. Inspire Software was built with the idea that no two companies are alike, and what works for one team might not for the next. Our tool can be customized to ensure your strategic business goals are supported by and aligned to the professional desires of your employees. Want to simplify goal management and collaboration while seeing improved and measurable results? Take a quick tour now!