Four of the top five destroyers of employee engagement are a management / leadership issue. Are they present in your organization? Here’s how to find out.
I’m writing this article as I prepare to deliver a Keynote speech in 48 hours on employee engagement to 250 of the top leaders of a large technology firm in Oman. A portion of my speech will be dedicated to what I’ve discovered to be the top 5 destroyers of employee engagement. I consistently find these destructive gaps widely present, in plain sight, and left unaddressed.
Failure to implement a strategy to address these destructive forces will all but make your organization uncompetitive, so start taking action to address these now before the costs of apathy render your organization the way of Circuit City and other now extinct businesses.
Employees Do Not Know What They Are Supposed To Do
More and more employees are being confronted with ambiguity, ineffective communication, and unreasonable expectations. When they don’t know what they are supposed to do, this is a VISION ISSUE. It results when leadership has failed to create a compelling vision that is effectively communicated throughout the organization. If this is the case in your organization, implement a committee with the responsibility and authority to correct the situation as soon as possible. Your voluntary attrition rates will go down once you do.
Employees Do Not Know How to Do It
We see this quite consistently inside organizations. The recent recession caused organizations to cut training and as the economy improves, the most skilled and most talented employees are in high demand. When those high contributors leave your organization, it leaves behind a crater filled with “Not Know It Alls”. This is clearly a TRAINING ISSUE. Organizations have only 2 outcomes – invest in training or invest in keeping the untrained. The price for both is high, but one is clearly much much higher than the other.
Employees Do Not Know Why They Should Do It
Are employees in your organization regularly being inundated with additional new tasks? If so, it is making their job much more complex. Complexity is the seed from which disengagement will grow like a weed especially if there is little to no explanation as to why the new tasks are really necessary. When this happens, it is a LEADERSHIP ISSUE. Leaders in all organizations would be wise to maintain a highly transparent communication process that explains the “why” and real value of the additional tasks to employees who are already asked to do more with much less.
Employees Do Not Have Approval to Do It
One of the more fascinating scenarios we see surprisingly often is this – employees know the “why”, “what”, and “how” of their roles but are not allowed to do it in the most efficient manner. This happens when management blocks them from doing it thus making it a MANAGEMENT ISSUE. All managers would be wise to examine and reconsider convictions that reinforce “the ways we’ve always done it”. Additionally, senior managers can minimize the level of undesirable local management behaviors by visiting more often and spending time with the rank and file to receive feedback on what’s working and not working.
Employees Do Not Care Enough to Do It
This is often the outcome when the four previous issues are prevalent throughout the organization. Employees simply give up assuming nothing is going to change for the better. This is a MOTIVATION ISSUE. This is one of the more difficult issues to resolve because it often requires fixing gaps in the system (infrastructure gaps, process and procedures gaps, and talent and skills gaps). Employee engagement surveys can begin to pinpoint areas of focus for improvement, and working with an outside consulting firm is often the best solution to ensure data integrity when assessing the organizational culture and developing proposed solutions.
I’m looking forward to sharing some of our best practices for addressing these challenges with the leaders who will be in attendance to my Keynote speech here in Muscat, Oman. If any of these challenges are present in your organization, take action now. We can help, so don’t hesitate to contact us. Whatever you do, don’t delay taking action whether it be with us or some other firm because the longer you wait, the longer it will take to correct things. And time is not on your side when it comes to these 5 destroyers of employee engagement.
The Floor is Yours
What other things have you seen or experienced that destroys employee engagement? Please share your feedback in the comments below.
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