Improve Company Performance With Employee Engagement

By on June 15, 2010
Improve Company Performance With Employee Engagement

According to research reported over the past few years, “employee engagement” is a key indicator of organizational success. Company performance can vary by as much as 28% depending on the degree of engagement of influential employees.

There are eight primary drivers of employee engagement, including

  1. Relationship with one’s manager.
  2. Trustworthiness and integrity of managers.
  3. Mental stimulation of the job.
  4. Clear employee understanding of how his/her job fits into the overall organization.
  5. Future opportunities for growth.
  6. Pride about the company.
  7. Relationships with coworkers/team members.
  8. Employee development opportunities.

While the various reports rank the items differently, the number one item in every study is “Relationship with one’s manager.” Age of employees changes priorities. For example, younger employees (under age 44) look for a challenging environment and career growth opportunities, while older employees seem to prefer recognition and rewards for their contributions.

What do we actually mean by “employee engagement?” The various studies have slightly different definitions, but the following definition, from an article in the Ivey Business Journal (March/April 2006) seems to be representative. The authors (Gerard H. Seijts and Dan Crim) describe an engaged employee as a person who:

“….is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work…… Engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing to invest the discretionary effort exceeding duty’s call to see that the organization succeeds.”

So how do you engage more employees? Seijts and Crim suggest that effective leadership is the key to more highly engaged employees, which in turn leads to improved retention and higher productivity – resulting in a better bottom line. Leaders need to observe the ten C’s of leadership:

  1. Connect: Leaders must show that they value employees. Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss.
  2. Career: Leaders should provide challenging and meaningful work with opportunities for career advancement. Most people want to do new things in their job. For example, do organizations provide job rotation for their top talent? Are people assigned stretch goals?
  3. Clarity: Leaders must communicate a clear vision. Success in life and organizations is, to a great extent, determined by how clear individuals are about their goals and what they really want to achieve. In sum, employees need to understand what the organization’s goals are, why they are important, and how the goals can best be attained.
  4. Convey: Leaders clarify their expectations about employees and provide feedback on their functioning in the organization.
  5. Congratulate: Exceptional leaders give recognition, and they do so a lot; they coach and convey.
  6. Contribute: People want to know that their input matters and that they are contributing to the organization’s success in a meaningful way. In sum, good leaders help people see and feel how they are contributing to the organization’s success and future.
  7. Control: Employees value control over the flow and pace of their jobs and leaders can create opportunities for employees to exercise this control. A feeling of “being in on things,” and of being given opportunities to participate in decision making often reduces stress; it also creates trust and a culture where people want to take ownership of problems and their solutions.
  8. Collaborate: Studies show that, when employees work in teams and have the trust and cooperation of their team members, they outperform individuals and teams which lack good relationships. Great leaders are team builders; they create an environment that fosters trust and collaboration.
  9. Credibility: Leaders should strive to maintain a company’s reputation and demonstrate high ethical standards.
  10. Confidence: Good leaders help create confidence in a company by being exemplars of high ethical and performance standards.

Now it’s time to ask yourself to what degree are you practicing these ten C’s. If you think you need some help with them, NOW would be a good time to engage in some serious leadership development. You don’t want to wait until the economy improves. By then it will be too late, and you’ll be scrambling to replace valuable employees who jumped ship.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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