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How Employee Engagement Affects Performance

By HappyOrNot

Here’s something that every manager needs to know: You can’t improve your organization’s performance without strong employee engagement.

Gallup first noted this when their research showed that managers who focused on employee engagement “increased productivity and success by creating an environment that energizes and motivates employees and teams, helping them reach the highest levels of performance.”

They also had the numbers to back that up.

Employee groups with high engagement levels, they found, “experience 22% higher profitability and 21% higher productivity compared with work groups with low levels of engagement. They also experience 65% lower turnover and 10% higher customer ratings than work groups with low engagement.”

The key to employee engagement: Helping people develop their strengths

And how do you better engage your employees? Gallup’s research had an answer for that, too — you focus on developing their strengths.

They found that when an organization focused on strengths-based employee development, they also developed a much more more engaging and productive workplace. The results here were pretty impressive as well:

  • A 10% to 19% increased sales;
  • A 14% to 29% increased profit; and,
  • A 9% to 15% increase in employee engagement.

This is especially true for Millennials — who are now the largest single demographic in the workforce — because besides wanting their work to have meaning and purpose, they also want to be able to learn and develop themselves, using their talents and strengths to do what they do best every day.

When your developmental goals for employees focus on strength-based development, nearly two-thirds (67%) of workers are engaged. That’s pretty stunning of course, but the flip-side is equally stunning because organization’s that don’t focus on developing strengths see the number of engaged employees drop to 2%.

Those kinds of numbers should get the attention of business leaders everywhere.

It helps when you get to know your people

Developing your employees isn’t easy; it takes a very personal touch. That means you need to get to know them and what they aspire to, and that requires forging a personal relationship. The old one-size-fits-all-style of management just doesn’t work with today’s workforce.

In other words, you MUST know your people — the ins and outs of their strengths and weaknesses — to be able to truly develop them into high-performing, highly engaged employees.

The 1980s-style of “management by walking around” is a good example of this, because it allows managers to engage workers regularly and informally. When managers do that, employees frequently feel like they can open up about all sorts of things that might never, ever come up in a more formal feedback setting or an employee satisfaction survey.

Again, this is particularly effective management with Millennials given how they prefer to collaborate with managers rather then get dictated to by them. It’s a more personal approach that simply builds better workplace relationships, and of course, improves employee satisfaction and engagement as well.

Human Resources can really help with this.

Good HR professionals are teachers and mentors for other leaders in the organization, ensuring that other managers learn and grow in their roles. Plus, HR professionals can influence an organization’s leaders to increase their communication often with employees, and more communication can help leaders share stories of their path to leadership and the lessons learned along the way.

Yes, it’s important for Human Resources to help, but improving engagement really falls on the shoulders of one key group — your strong and effective managers.

What effective managers bring to the table

Effective management is the “secret sauce” in your engagement formula, because employees will run through walls and go that extra mile to do whatever they can when a manager they truly respect asks them to do it.

That’s because managers put them in in position to be highly successful in their work, and Gallup has identified the 12 key elements that great managers bring to the table. Some of the elements include:

  • They make sure that employees clearly know what is expected of them.
  • They give them the materials and equipment to do the job right.
  • They build on employee strengths by giving them the opportunity to do what they do well every day.
  • They let them know when they do a good job, recognizing them for their work on a regular basis.
  • They encourage them to continue to grow and develop their skills.
  • They play to the strengths of their employees and put them in a position to succeed and not fail.
  • They infuse their workers with a sense of mission or purpose that lets them know their work is truly important.

With employee engagement levels at only about 30% in the U.S. and 15% worldwide (according to Gallup), and what we know about the positive linkage between engagement and employee performance, doesn’t it make sense to help your managers get to better know their employees and really work on developing their strengths and your organization’s overall performance?

HappyOrNot can help you to do this. We have the tools and experience to help you grow a high-performing and engaged workforce. Just reach out to here to let us know how we can help you improve your overall performance.