Engaged, frustrated or disaffected staff – ten reasons to get engaged.

O, WHY is it important to have engaged and satisfied staff?  Surely, we should simply be happy to allow our staff to come to work and be grateful that they bother to do any? We’re the ones who need the staff, so should we care if they care?  In short – yes! We should work out whether our staff want to come to work and, if not, then work out how we can change and reengage them. Why? Let me explain …

In the ‘corporate world,’ I had the good fortune to come across a great motivating model courtesy of a company called Digital Opinion.  It’s called the Employee Engagement Matrix. It’s a fabulous little four box matrix that splits your staff into one of four categories.

As you can see bottom left is labelled ‘disaffected’, next to it to the right is ‘uncommitted’, top left’s label is ‘frustrated’ and top right is the magical ‘engaged’. The higher the job satisfaction and commitment to the company (the axis) the more engaged they become.

So let’s look at this in more detail. Imagine this is your team – for demonstration purposes, let’s say you have 20 people in that team. Have a think in percentage terms how many of your staff sit in any one of these boxes?  Then think about how that would affect your team’s morale, productivity, cohesion and success?

Say you had 20% disaffected, that’s four people – they are negative both in terms of job satisfaction and commitment to the company. They make minimal contribution, will have a negative impact on their colleagues, or leave the company.  If they were in your team they would be black balling your every idea and actively blocking progress.

What about another 70% either ‘frustrated’, who are committed to you company but get little satisfaction from their work, or ‘uncommitted’ – they take satisfaction from the work they do but have little sense of commitment to the company – how will those 14 people slow you down?

This would leave us with a measly 10% potentially all fired up and raring to go; two of your team, yes just two and I bet you could name both of them now? That’s a very small number of staff to be relying on, at this a time when you need all hands to the pump.

Research shows companies who have a higher engagement are more likely to perform better.  Addressing your staff engagement and doing something about it is not a ‘nice to do’, nor a ‘fluffy HR thing’, there are valid business reasons for seeking and achieving this key area as listed below:

  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Higher motivation
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Less staff turnover
  • More productive employees
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Open and honest Culture
  • A generally happier environment
  • Better informed
  • Ability to react to change

So how can you improve your engagement?

  1. Energy – you need to bring the energy back to the business – companies have spent the last few years focusing on revenues, for very valid reasons, and often under constant change management. It’s time to invigorate
  2. Be consistent – create the message and follow through
  3. Communicate – make sure the staff know what you are trying to do and why. Share the successes and mistakes. Make sure that commitment to this goal is understood throughout the company, practiced by all and committed to.

Ensure you achieve some quick wins as Dr John Kotter, a professor at the Harvard Business School and a well known author and authority on leadership and change would advocate. This could be just a few ‘gimmies’ – short positive messages to show a desire and commitment from the top to take action and drive you forward with focus and commitment.

These changes need to form part of your culture – you must create ownership of the changes and with that accountability.  It’s about people, your staff and ensuring they are enabled to, and actually want to, do their best work. Its basic human motivation – give them an aim and direction and see how your staff will attach themselves to that aim, your desire to improve their commitment and focus to their benefit and that of the company.
So, what percentage of your staff are truly in the engaged box, and what are you going to do about getting more of the team to join them?

For thoughts and suggestions on how to improve engagement please follow us on twitter @TrueHRLtd and share your ideas