Is the Face of Employee Engagement Changing?

At times, employee engagement can seem like a state that is elusive yet is desired. With all of the press, information and activity regarding employee engagement do you ever wonder why your efforts are not more effective? Over the next few weeks we will focus on the different facets of employee engagement. We will tease it apart for a better understanding of what it is, what it takes to get there and where we find the gaps.

Throughout my years of coaching and facilitating Strengths Based Leadership I have observed that many organizations want the desired results of higher employee engagement. However, they are hesitant to devote the scarce time and money resources it takes to ensure the desired results – increased employee engagement. It’s a big commitment and I can say, without a doubt, that the organizations I have worked with over the years, who have made the commitment to their employees, have experienced exponential engagement results.

This is part 1 in the 5-part series on Employee Engagement by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

If two-thirds of your company's workforce is not actively engaged, what should or could be done? Click To Tweet

employee engagement, three types of employees, engaged employees, not-engaged employees, actively disengaged employees, passion, connection, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, leadership coach

With so many organizations focusing on employee engagement, why aren’t engagement levels across the world increasing? According to Gallup’s January 2016 article, The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis, there are serious and potentially lasting repercussions for the global economy.

Only 32% of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2015, compared to 31.5% the previous year.

Wikipedia defines an “engaged employee” as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about his or her work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.

An organization with “high” employee engagement might therefore be expected to out perform those with “low” employee engagement, all else being equal. In the coaching work I do, I’ve learned there isn’t always a shared meaning of what engagement means, nor is there a one-solution-fits-all or universally understood method for developing it.

In The Best of Gallup Management Journal 2001-2007, Jerry Krueger and Emily Killham describe three types of employees:

Engaged employees
work with passion, and they feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.

Not-Engaged employees
are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work.

Actively Disengaged employees
are not just unhappy at work, they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers are accomplishing.

Employee engagement first appeared as a concept in management theory in the 1990s, becoming widespread by the Gallup Organization’s yearly global surveys. Human Resource departments regularly monitor employee engagement and implement programs to improve ratings.

But are employee engagement surveys asking the right questions? Are the three categories of engagement enough to measure? Do the results need to be broken down into other categories? Or are the solutions that your organization has been pursuing not addressing the true needs of your people? Have you wondered how you can uncover what truly matters to your team or employees and what will lead them to be more fully engaged in the work they do? If two-thirds of your company’s workforce is not actively engaged, what should or could be done to motivate and improve performance?

These are important questions that I will address in this series. Until next time, what do you know to be true from your experience about employee engagement? Are most of your colleagues engaged in the work they do? Are you engaged in the work you do? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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