No, I’m not writing about Punxsutawney Phil’s recent prediction of more winter weather. I’m talking about that great Bill Murray movie. As I read yet another article about the importance of employee engagement and how it’s accomplished, one of Mr. Murray’s movie lines comes to mind, “Didn’t we do this yesterday?” Why do we keep repeating this conversation?
That most of today’s employees are not engaged is no a secret. According to a recent Gallup survey, only 30% of today’s workforce is engaged and inspired. Half of today’s workers are unengaged. The scary part? Gallup reports 20% of workers are actively disengaged. “These employees, who have bosses from hell that make them miserable, roam the halls spreading discontent.” I’ve seen these figures quoted in countless articles and reports the last several months.
Of course, most of the articles that report these lackluster engagement statistics also offer ideas and strategies for addressing this worker challenge. In fact, I’ve saved over a dozen articles the last three months that explore this employee engagement issue and all offer various forms of the same, simple solutions:
- Communicate often and clearly with employees.
- Build an environment of trust.
- Know your employees well -- value them and listen to them
- Offer training and development opportunities.
That’s about it! Yes, there are various strategies and activities that fall within each of the above categories but addressing those four areas well will move many of your employees from disengaged to engaged. It’s really not hard and there’s nothing new under the how-do-you-build-an-engaged-workforce sun.
So why do I keep hearing HR and other business professionals repeat the question, “How can I increase employee engagement at my company?” I’m not the only one asking this question. As I participated in an online discussion of HR professionals recently, someone commented, “Are we really asking this question again? Yawn.”
Most companies understand the need for employee engagement yet do little about it. According to PwC Saratoga’s 2013/2014 US Human Capital Effectiveness Report, 86% of organizations measure employee engagement. Amazingly, 60% of these same organizations do not develop strategies or build action plans to address employee engagement! Why measure employee engagement if you’re not going to do anything about it?
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, it’s simply a matter of choice. Does your organization want to invest in people or just take its chances with a revolving door of unengaged employees? Simplistic thinking? Maybe a little. Other issues are at play here, primarily budgets and other resources. At the end of the day, though, choosing to actively engage your workforce is a decision you do or do not make.
Organizations that take employee engagement seriously will survive and even thrive as the economy sputters along. However, once the economy begins to grow at a faster clip, those organizations that choose not to address this critical issue better at least have a fully staffed facilities department -- these workers will be busy keeping that revolving door spinning freely.
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.