4 Truths and 1 Lie about Employee Engagement

January 10, 2020 at 6:40 pm
Group of colleagues touching palms over a table.

It’s easy to see when employees are engaged.

Companies need engaged employees to thrive and perform optimally, but it’s not easy to get and keep employees engaged. Studies from 2013 and 2015 showed that 70 percent of employees are not engaged at work, and even many employees that are engaged are in the honeymoon period, which is the first six months of a new job when engagement is typically highest.

Poor engagement is estimated to cost companies at least $450 billion a year, which is significant in an economy that only totals about $17 trillion a year. Here are four truths and a lie to consider when looking to improve employee engagement.

Truth: Engagement needs to start at the top.

If the C-suite isn’t fully engaged, they shouldn’t expect engagement from anyone else in the company. Executives will be the example of engagement the rest of the company follows. In the same way, managers who are not engaged will probably have similarly disengaged teams. An engagement initiative that comes from the top will typically result in improvements over time.

Truth: Engagement is not uniform.

The same things won’t result in engagement for everyone in the company. It’s important to find out what will trigger engagement for people of different ages, tenures, and genders and to personalize initiatives so that everyone benefits. It takes a level of empathy and compassion to accomplish this without offending people by accusing them of being disengaged, but it can and needs to be done.

Group of colleagues sitting around a conference table cheering.

Employees who go above and beyond are engaged at work.

Truth: Assessments help engagement.

Behavioral assessments can reveal some of the reasons why an employee may be disengaged and give insight into solutions that will work best for each individual. Shifting job duties or even moving an employee to a more compatible role can lead to more engagement, which naturally results when a job is a good fit.

Truth: Engagement needs to be measured.

It is not uncommon for employees to self-report being engaged at work when a more objective measurement would say otherwise. Data can be useful not just for revealing a lack of engagement, but also to figure out whether an initiative is working and what conditions led to greater engagement.

The Lie You Shouldn’t Believe About Engagement

Many companies look at engagement initiatives and see dollar signs that they don’t think are compatible with their budgets, but if your employees are not engaged, you’re already losing a lot more money than you would spend to improve engagement. To think otherwise is a lie that too many companies believe, and they will continue to lose money until they see the need for help with engagement and the benefits it can bring.

Narish International wants to look at employee engagement and other factors to help you build higher-performing teams.