Is employee involvement and enthusiasm just a nice to have? Or is it a fundamental part of doing good business? A recent survey from consulting company Towers Watson presented a staggering statistic. “Low traditional engagement companies” had operating margins that were almost three times smaller than those of “high sustainable engagement companies”.
In this light, understanding how to engage employees is a key business success factor. So how can you set about putting such a concept into action?
Employee Engagement is Not Automatic
LA distributors must meet the same challenges as other enterprises. Gallup's “State of the American Workplace” report from 2013 indicates that 70 percent of U.S. workers are effectively disengaged, a shocking statistic for any company trying to get ahead.
Organizations have also known for some time that factors like a fair salary and safe working conditions are not the answer on to how to engage employees. These items simply meet basic job requirements. To build a committed, responsive workforce takes additional measures.
Three Quick Tips to Get Started
There is no shortage of information on employee engagement. The problem is to sift through it all for the key, actionable points that can rapidly make a difference. The pointers below summarize fundamentals that can give you a head start:
- Make sure employees know what is expected. Make it as clear and as simple as you can. Focus on the essentials and keep the list short: 30 different objectives are way too much. Specify appropriate and precise due dates and how results will be measured.
- Tell them why their contribution is important. Identification with and ownership of goals are essential parts of employee engagement. Those positive emotions are fostered by an understanding of the criticality of achieving those goals. But this information is not always obvious to others. So make sure they know.
- Seize opportunities to get their active participation in decision-making. Avoid manipulation by which decisions are, in reality, imposed on employees without choice. When employees think through a challenge for themselves, come to workable conclusions, and (with your sign-off) put them into action, engagement increases in parallel.
Adapting to Four Generations in the Engagement Arena
Human nature has not changed. Basic wants and needs are still the same, even the solutions for meeting them evolve. However, distributors now find themselves in a situation that is new for many of them. There are no less than four generations of workers now active in the US. From the oldest to the youngest, they are the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Millennials.
Each generation leans towards its own style of engagement. For instance, Baby Boomers are likely to be team-oriented, whereas Millennials tend to engage better on an individual basis. Understanding how to engage employees also means understanding where they are coming from, culturally and generationally.
Can Technology Help?
Innovative IT and tech tools may not be enough to build engagement by themselves. But properly selected technology can accelerate and reinforce engagement, once the other fundamentals (see tips above) have been put in place.
Mobile and cloud services for on-the-go communication, internal social networking tools for collaboration, staff engagement specific survey tools to take the pulse of your staff, and easy-to-use project management software for productivity are some examples.
What has been your greatest challenge in achieving employee engagement? Share your experiences with us in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free guide, How COOs at Los Angeles Distributors and Manufacturers Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity, Data, Staffing, Delegation, and Making It Home for Dinner Most Nights.