A recent study commissioned by Red Letter Days for Business found that 15% of British employees are either not engaged at all or not very engaged in their jobs. That's a significant percentage of the workforce which is showing up for work every day but are not fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work.
Unengaged employees physically show up for work every day but leave their heads and hearts at home. Not only is this a sad state of existence for the employees involved, but it's bad for the employers too. Employees who have "checked out" of their jobs aren't as productive as they could be.
Engaged employees are inspired by their work and are committed to doing a good job. They care about the future of the company and are willing to 'go the extra mile' when needed.
The survey found that highly engaged employees felt looked after and valued as people. For example, 98% said they had a manager who cared about them. 97% said that they had someone who encouraged their development and 98% said they had opportunities to learn.
In my work as a business consultant and investor, I have identified six other ways that you can get employees on board and buying into your vision.
1. Managers matter - as an employee, having a good relationship with your boss is more important than what the company as a whole does in terms of employee-focused policies. So as important as perks such as profit sharing and work-life balance initiatives are, they won't matter much to employees who have a manager with whom they have a broken relationship.
2. Having clear goals for staff and communicating a clear vision for the company or organisation are very important. Confusion can be stressful whereas clarity is powerful.
3. Recognition - too often, employees feel that managers are quick to criticise and not-so-keen and not-so-quick to congratulate. Deep down everyone likes to receive praise.
4. People want to know that what they do matters. They don't want to be a cog in a machine.
5. People don't like to be controlled so it helps if leaders give their staff some input into the flow and pace of the work that they do.
6. Walk the talk - staff don't feel they should be expected to be engaged in their work and perform at a high standard if their bosses don't lead the way.
So it is possible to have a fully engaged workforce. None of these measures cost money. But, if implemented, the pay-offs can be huge.