You don’t have to look very far through employee engagement figures to see that the picture is dismal!
On average, the scores for engagement in Australian businesses sit somewhere around the 21-36 per cent mark. This leaves approximately 70 per cent of your employees disengaged.
Disengagement costs Australian businesses $33.5 billion. To get our ROI, surely we should be providing support to enable people to focus on their strengths, provide motivating feedback and foster an open and trusting culture.
We know what we should be doing, so why isn’t it happening?
If you had a piece of equipment running at 30 per cent capacity, would you want to know how to fix it?
Personally, I am baffled by the sense of complacency people seem to have about this workplace issue. We know it’s a big problem, but it is very rarely being addressed in any real way.
HR needs to put engagement at the centre of everything they do
How can we have conversations about productivity without considering engagement? On the other side of the coin, why do we talk about engagement without also talking about leadership?
In an article published by Fast Company, Mark Crowley made the point that in the US, many business leaders remain unconvinced that engagement is as bad in their particular organisation, often because they create their own in-house surveys that don’t always ask the right questions.
He quotes Rebecca Ray, researcher at the Conference Board. “There is really no way to compare organisations to organisations tied to survey data, simply because there’s no consistency in what questions get asked,” she says. “But most of the published engagement studies report the very same thing. Only a third of the population is really engaged.”
Back to basics
I believe to truly solve the problem of engagement, we need to get to the crux of the issue: our basic human needs.
To riff off the concepts explored in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the six shared across humanity, regardless of gender, age, ability, religion, ethnicity, etc., are:
- Love & Connection
Think very honestly about your workplace as you consider the above points. Ask yourself, how good is your employer at providing the best environment to ask these kinds of questions? And how good are you at ensuring you fulfil these needs for yourself; both at work and more generally in your life?
It’s ok to sometimes feel disconnected, disengaged, cynical or mistrustful. Just be honest about it and determine what contribution you are responsible for.
I feel that it’s only when we each take a holistic approach to connection and fulfilment in our own lives that we will see anything nearing 100 per cent engagement in our businesses.
Today there are so many resources, consultants and facilitators around who can help you out!
We should all make increasing engagement our number one strategic objective for the next few years.