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Four Ideas to Improve Employee Engagement Now

By March 17, 2016 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Managers everywhere can help solve this problem and reap the benefits of higher employee engagement.

Some of the following content is taken from a report by Robyn Reilly, a Senior Consultant at Gallup.

Engaged employees are rare. According to Gallup’s recent State of the Global Workforce report, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. New Zealand has one of the highest levels of engaged employees among the countries surveyed, at 23%. Australia’s engagement rate is similar, at 24%. But both countries fall short of the United States, where 30% of employed residents are engaged at work.

Engaged workers stand apart from their not-engaged and actively disengaged counterparts because of the discretionary effort they consistently bring to their roles. These employees willingly go the extra mile, work with passion, and feel a profound connection to their company. They are the people who will drive innovation and move your business forward.

Contrast this with actively disengaged employees, who are more or less out to damage your company. Not only are they unhappy at work, but they are intent on acting out their unhappiness. They monopolise their managers’ time and drive away customers. Whatever engaged employees do – such as solve problems, innovate, and create new customers – actively disengaged employees will work to undermine.

Not-engaged employees offer perhaps the greatest untapped opportunity for businesses to improve their performance and profitability. Not-engaged workers can be difficult to spot. They are not overtly hostile or disruptive and likely do just enough to fulfill their job requirements. They sleepwalk through their day, uninspired and lacking motivation. They have little or no concern about customers, productivity, profitability, safety, or quality. They are thinking about lunch or their next break and have essentially “checked out.”

Increasing engagement should be a strategic priority

Measuring employee engagement is important. Measuring the right things – those that matter most to performance and provide a framework for positive change is crucial.

Building a constituency of engaged employees

If employees truly are a company’s best asset, then their care and support should be a priority.

Though important at the organisational level, engagement starts with each person and is subjective. Employees don’t check their personalities at the door when they come to work. Knowing that they are respected as individuals at work can have a significant impact on how employees view their overall lives.

Each person’s potential extends well beyond his or her job description. And tapping that potential means recognising how an employee’s unique set of beliefs, talents, goals, and life experiences drives his or her performance, personal success, and well-being.

Managers and leaders should know their people – who they are, not just what they do. Every interaction with an employee has the potential to influence his or her engagement and inspire discretionary effort. How leaders manage their employees can substantially affect engagement levels in the workplace, in turn influencing the company’s bottom line. Here are four strategies organisations can use to help build their constituency of engaged employees:

  1. Use the right employee engagement survey. When a company asks its employees for their opinions, those employees expect action to follow. But businesses often make the mistake of using employee surveys to collect data that are irrelevant or impossible to act on. Any survey data must be specific, relevant, and actionable for any team at any organisational level. Data should also be proven to influence key performance metrics.
  2. Focus on engagement at the local and organisational levels. Real change occurs at the local workgroup level, but it happens only when company leaders set the tone from the top. Companies realise the most benefit from engagement initiatives when leaders weave employee engagement into performance expectations for managers and enable them to execute on those expectations. Managers and employees must feel empowered to make a significant difference in their immediate environment. Leaders and managers should work with employees to identify barriers to engagement and opportunities to effect positive change. Employees are familiar with the company’s processes, systems, products, and customers. They are also experts on themselves and their teams. So it makes sense that they will have the best ideas to maximise these elements and deliver improved performance, business innovation, and better workplace experiences.
  3. Coach managers and hold them accountable for their employees’ engagement. Gallup’s research has found that managers are primarily responsible for their employees’ engagement levels. Companies should coach managers to take an active role in building engagement plans with their employees, hold managers accountable, track their progress, and ensure that they continuously focus on emotionally engaging their employees.
  4. Define engagement goals in realistic, everyday terms. To bring engagement to life, leaders must make engagement goals meaningful to employees’ day-to-day experiences. Describing what success looks like using powerful descriptions and emotive language helps give meaning to goals and builds commitment within a team. Make sure that managers discuss employee engagement at weekly meetings, in action-planning sessions, and in one-on-one meetings with employees to weave engagement into daily interactions and activities and to make it part of the workplace’s DNA.

Leaders in the best companies strategically align their employee engagement efforts. They find ways to communicate engagement’s effect throughout the year and share best practices across the organisation. They use every opportunity, touchpoint, and communication channel to reinforce and recognise the organisation’s commitment to employee engagement.

If employees truly are a company’s best asset, then leaders and managers should make caring for them a priority. Companies in Australia and New Zealand have a tremendous opportunity to transform their employees’ work experiences into ones that are fulfilling and motivating – and that allow workers to bring their best to work every day.

Brownie Points can help. As experts in employee engagement we can help you build an awesome culture of recognition. To learn more call the team today on 03 9909 7411 or email us at







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