In the United States, full time employees average a 47.7 hour work week, which is one the longest in the world. However, a Gallup survey in 2015 revealed that only about 30% of Americans are actively engaged in their everyday work. That’s a lot of hours spent at the office for less than a third of employees to actually be involved in bettering the environment.
Looking passed how depressing that is from a psychological standpoint, there are plenty of negative organizational impacts that come with such low numbers. Lack of engagement in an office setting can cause lower productivity or profit loss, but disengagement at a construction site or a manufacturing plant could lead to lost time or even employee injury.
Improving engagement levels yields benefits for the entire company, from the employees to the shareholders. Another Gallup study found that engagement actually impacts nine key performance outcomes.
Companies with higher levels of employee engagement experienced…
- 37% lower absenteeism
- 25% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
- 65% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
- 28% less shrinkage
- 48% fewer safety incidents
- 41% fewer patient safety incidents (in hospitals)
- 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
- 10% higher customer metrics
- 21% higher productivity
- 22% higher profitability
Obviously, those kind of double-digit increases are impressive and something any manager or business owner would enjoy experiencing at their operation. So how do you go about achieving higher engagement?
- Start at the top.
Lead by example and set the tone. Employees must see the leadership demonstrating the characteristics and behaviors everyone else is being asked to display. In companies where leaders model the desired behavior, employees are 55% more engaged, 53% more focused and more likely to stay at the company.
- Be transparent.
Management transparency has a direct 94% correlation with employee happiness. Trusting employees with sensitive information gives them a sense of deeper involvement in the company and helps to create a more cooperative team atmosphere.
- Offer visibility.
Management must be accessible to everyone so that employees see them as approachable and available for guidance and assistance. Also, consistently recognize employees for their contributions and achievements.
- Show follow up
Acknowledgement by management and among peers is the quickest way to build trust, restore strained relationships and energize the workplace. When employees see their suggestions or comments being put into action, it demonstrates that their thoughts are being heard and they will continue to provide feedback.
- Be authentic.
Genuine relationships between employees and their supervisors and management inspires trust and builds comradery. In fact, a study by Blessings White found that managers who showed their human side were rated 59 points higher on critical skills among employees.