Is your organization optimized for employee engagement?
For many, the answer is no. We’ll tell you why and what you can do to change your no into a yes…
Employee engagement has been researched and studied extensively by academics, management consulting firms, and organizations around the globe for decades and while slight language variations may occur, it can be defined as “the emotional [and mental] commitment [and investment] an employee has to the organization and its goals”. Glint goes a step further by defining as, “the degree to which employees invest their cognitive, emotional, and behavioral energies toward positive organizational outcomes”.
Given its extensive and ongoing study, it is reasonable to assume that the collective ‘we’ of organizations today would confidently state that they understand and recognize both the intangible and tangible value engaged employees provide. Specifically, engaged employees are more productive, innovative, and likely to remain and grow with the organization–after all, knowledge retention is one of the key elements of business and service continuity.
Yet, according to Gallup, a global analytics and management consulting firm, “disengaged employees cost the world $7.8 trillion a year in lost productivity” a number that is “equal to 11% of global GDP”. Another Gallup study found that U.S businesses are losing an estimated trillion, yes, that’s trillion with a ‘T’ dollars, “every year due to voluntary turnover. And the most astounding part is that most of this damage is self-inflicted.”
Why is engagement such a problem? There are several researched and validated reasons (i.e., lack of appreciation, leadership inflexibility, lack of manager/organizational trust, lack of growth, toxic environments, compensation etc.) why and we certainly have our own point of view, however, before we share, ask yourself the following:
- Am I emotionally and mentally invested in and committed to my organization?
- Are my colleagues emotionally and mentally committed to the organization and why?
- Is the organizational culture (stated values vs. demonstrated values) optimized for true engagement?
If you’re wavering or unsure about the answers to the above, read on…
The answer to why you (and others) may be struggling can be found by looking no further than the multi-talented superstar known by the mononym, Beyoncé. In 2008, Beyoncé unequivocally made clear what the sign of true commitment is when she told us that we will put a ring on what we like. Yes, it’s that simple –whether you can name it or not, there is something about the organizational environment that you don’t like —perhaps due to being in conflict with one or more personal values, and that is the reason why you haven’t been able to “put a ring on it”.
No one wants to fully invest their time, emotional, and mental energy into a person or organization that they don’t like. In fact, refusing to do so should be celebrated as it is a radical act of self-care and preservation, in other words, they’re again living out the words of Beyoncé by declaring, “you won’t break my soul”.
We believe that engagement and disengagement come down to one often overlooked factor that encapsulates almost everything else research has shown and that factor is, inclusion; specifically, whether or not an employee feels as though they are uniquely valued and supported within an organization. Inclusion matters because, “it is tangible, and incorporates both an active process of change (verb: to include) and an emotional outcome (I feel included). Feelings of inclusion are driven by perceptions of (i) fairness and respect and (ii) value and belonging.”
Inclusion requires deliberate, consistent, and corrective learning and action. If you’re an employee who hasn’t put the ring on it, or a leader wondering how to better attract, retain, and realize the benefits of engaged employees, you must first acknowledge (through assessment and measurement) where you are today and then decide what tangible actions (i.e., investments, restructures, exiting those who don’t uphold organizational values regardless of whether or not they are ‘high-performing’) you’re willing to take in support of more engaged tomorrows.
Need a partner to help you optimize and increase engagement through the lens of conscious inclusion? We can help, contact us here.
“Inclusive organizations are 87% more likely to make better decisions.” ~Korn Ferry Research