01.2012 - Executive Practices that Re-Engage Your Workforce

Highly engaged employees do whatever they can to serve customers and the organization.   With the New Year well underway and many economists suggesting a brighter financial forecast for 2012, many executives are asking how they can get their employees re-engaged.    Recent statistics point to negative trends in employee engagement. In 2007-2008, 66% of U.S. companies surveyed experienced decreased employee engagement (Quantum Workplace).  In 2009-2010 engagement was down 9%.  Even more alarming is that for high-performing employees engagement was down 23% (Watson Wyatt).

The positive impact of engagement:

  1. Offices with engaged employees were up to 43% more productive (Hay Group).
  2. Share of employees who say they feel unappreciated at work:  39% (up from 32% in 2/11) (Inc.1/12)
  3. World-class organizations have on average 67% engaged employees compared to average companies with 33% engagement (Gallup).  
  4. U.S. workforce active disengagement costs $300 billion in lost productivity alone (Gallup).

Ways to Increase Employee Engagement in 2012

  • Inform.   Provide high quality relevant information concerning the business environment and strategy to people at every level.  
  • Involve.   Involve others in big issues.   Coach high potential managers to lead.  Involve managers in company’s strategic goals.
  • Structure.  Create and use teams.   Reduce differences between levels.  Support integration of middle managers to improve coordination.
  • Reward.  Recognize success regularly even small progress steps.
  • Create New Thinking.  Challenge old assumptions.  Provoke new conversations.  Create dialogue to deepen understanding.
  • Encourage.   Listen and support.   Understand obstacles.  Establish “can do” expectations. 
  • Accentuate Positive Potential.    Look for potential.  Emphasize strengths and talents.  Focus on high performers.
  • Focus on Solutions.     Focus employees on co-creating solutions to business challenges.
  • Think Long-Term.  Articulate Short-Term.    Articulate short-term and long-term goals and strategies. 
  • Get Personal.   Increase the frequency and quality of times when employees can engage with leadership personally.

The most recent statistics on employee engagement:


Strength focus:  Managers who focus on employee strengths have 61% engaged employees and 1% actively disengaged.  


Weakness focus:  Compare this to a manager focus on weaknesses,  45% engaged employees & 22% actively disengaged. 


Don't ignore them!  Even worse -- managers who ignore employees -- 2% engagement and 40% active disengagement.(Gallup)