Creating Engagement in the Workforce

By John Manning, president of MAP, an EO Global partner

Whether you’re a startup entrepreneur or a seasoned one, you’re probably aware that employee engagement is critical to supporting your company’s immediate and long- term health. But it might surprise you to learn that in a recent Gallup poll of approximately 100 million Americans who hold full-time jobs, only 30% of workers are truly engaged in their jobs. Meanwhile, a whopping 50% are passively not engaged, and an alarming 20% are actively disengaged or causing detriment to their workplace.

In your company, do you know where your employees’ levels of engagement stack up to these Gallup findings? If not, it’s your role as an entrepreneurial leader to do the proper due diligence and find out. If your company’s engagement levels are strong— great! Simply reinforce what you’re doing right. But if there’s room for improvement, strive for greater engagement by aligning your company’s mission with its vital strategies and goals. And then back that corrective action with a commitment to these fundamental strategies for growing employee engagement:

Be a leader who effectively inspires. Enthusiasm in the workplace starts with you, but sheer charisma isn’t the only thing you need to get your employees engaged. You need to communicate your company’s goals and the strategies for achieving them with clarity and consistency, too. All of these things combine to create the necessary buy-in of your workers, not to mention their trust in you. When that buy-in takes root, you will successfully grow engagement for individuals and teams alike.

Drive decision-making down into the company. Your company’s engagement levels will grow if everyone feels like they play an important role in the decision-making process. From your top managers on down to the front-line personnel, consider giving everyone decision-making responsibilities. Empower them to develop solutions that are either planning-oriented or that relate to their own challenges. When you assign more of this meaningful type of work (the kind that shows you trust and respect them), employees will start to care more about what they do— and engagement will follow.

Put an accountability system in place. Accountability is all about putting the right performance measurements in place and monitoring those regularly so that you can get timely vitals on all aspects of your company’s health. And while it’s one of the most challenging tools for an entrepreneurial leader to start using, an effective and fair accountability system provides transparency relative to many aspects of the company, including employee engagement. Implemented correctly, the system will naturally reveal what works and what’s broken, who and what needs help, and ultimately, who is and is not engaged. Getting a firm grasp of the latter fact will enable you to address and improve any poor engagement issues.

Using these three strategies, make it a goal to inspire, motivate and grow your team by leveraging their talents, experiences and abilities every chance you get. Remember, most people want to do a good job and be recognized for their contributions. They want to feel good about what they’re doing and know that they’re making a difference. If you can create a culture in which all of this is possible, you will reap the rewards of a better workplace, better results and a better you.

John Manning is the president of MAP, an EO Global partner. For more than 50 years, MAP has helped 170,000 entrepreneurs and 15,000 organizations create sustainable results. Visit www.mapconsulting.com/eo to learn more about exclusive MAP support for your company or chapter.

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