If you’ve been finding it difficult to get engaged at work lately, studies show you’re not alone. Regardless of your profession, being engaged in your job is critical – not only to realize your own personal success, but also for personal fulfillment. Here are tips on how to get engaged at work (without a ring!)
Simply put, engagement is the product of one of our most innate emotions – passion. And the one distinguishable criteria that differentiates an engaged employee from that of a disengaged employee? Engaged employees deliver results.
Over the past three years, employers and employees alike have faced personal challenges and financial uncertainty not encountered since The Great Depression. The economic downturn set in motion in 2008 hurled a significant blow to companies, severely impacting employee engagement levels around the globe, essentially altering the leading drivers of employee engagement.
So why do companies continue to struggle with disengaged workforces even today?
The answer most often cited is – managerial relationships. A recent national study, “What Drives Employee Engagement and Why It Matters” by Dale Carnegie cited the number one factor for influencing engagement (or lack thereof) was… “relationship with immediate supervisor.”
Additionally, the study also presented some disturbing findings, noting that “only 29% of employees are fully engaged while 26% are disengaged.”
Why should employee engagement matter so much to companies?
To quote Andrew Carnegie – “You must capture the heart of a supremely able man before his brain can do its best.”
Today, employee engagement and loyalty are more vital than ever before to an organization’s success and competitive advantage.
Until recently, employee engagement had been viewed as a “soft” HR topic, but in all actuality, flawed management practices contribute significantly to employee disengagement, with its vast financial impact collectively saddling companies with upwards of $350 billion a year solely due to low employee engagement.
So, how are today’s companies tackling this issue head-on?
By understanding how much or how little engaged employees are imparts little value without first knowing what drives overall employee engagement. While varying methodologies abound as to which factors impact engagement levels, few studies had dug to such a granular level until Dale Carnegie teamed with MSW Research. From their national survey of 1,500 employee participants, three overall key drivers were revealed:
1. Relationship with immediate supervisor
2. Belief in senior leadership
3. Pride in working for the company
At its core, Dale Carnegie’s study affirms that people are what makes one company more successful than another. Solid management is the key to establishing proper relationships between management and their workforce – corroborating the value of an engaged workforce allows employees to excel, and the company to profit, regardless of its products or services.
Forbes magazine contributing writer Victor Lipman cautions that when companies ultimately become concerned enough to address the issues of employee retention, productivity, and chronically high levels of employee disengagement, they need first look to their selection and training of their front-line managers.
So what tried-and true qualities foster positive manager-employee relationships?
Because engagement levels are fluid, workplaces are advised to strive for a complementary mix of both intrinsic and extrinsic ‘factors’ in order to achieve a culture of connectedness. Extrinsic rewards being tangible, such as financial incentives, while intrinsic rewards come from within – the psychological reward from a job well done.
For example, research from Dale Carnegie states, “A manager’s ability to build strong relationships with employees; build strong team interaction, and lead in a ‘person-centered’ way creates an engaging environment in which employees can perform at the highest possible level.”
So, if ever faced with a less-than-perfect job, boss or company, bear in mind that you always possess three choices to best manage your destiny:
- Accept what you’ve been given
- Change what you’ve been given
- Leave what you’ve been given
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