Business Sense: Are your employees truly engaged?

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Global surveys indicate many people are unhappy at work.

Brad Crowson

It’s been estimated that over 70 percent of the workforce consists of passive job-seekers. These are people who are not actively looking to leave their jobs but would consider a move if something better came along.

This should be alarming news for the business community, considering that acquisition and retention of talent is critical for an organization’s success. Why does the evidence suggest employees are more distracted and less engaged than ever?

The internet, social media, even our cell phones? We’re bombarded by distractions at work.

However, is that really why employees are not fully engaged in a meaningful way? What can well-run, successful companies do to combat this critical problem?

Obviously, organizations must recognize there is a problem and be committed to fixing it. Then, important questions should be asked and answered.

First, does an organization’s leadership understand what employees want from their jobs?

Second, does an organization have the right people in leadership positions to move the needle on employee engagement? Face it, businesses often live and die based on the answers to these questions.

Organizational success is directly linked to employee engagement and productivity. Why then are so many employees unhappy in their jobs and willing to move on, given the right opportunity?

Let’s look at corporate culture. Is the culture in your company highly political, so that making a decision becomes incredibly inefficient?

Do decision-makers in your company blame others when things go wrong? Is leadership overly concerned with taking credit when things go right?

What about fear of conflict? Are people afraid to bring issues to the boss for fear of reprisals?

These are all incredibly harmful to an organization’s overall productivity and employee morale.

It’s important for managers to understand each employee is an individual with unique motivations and values. Does management take the time to learn what makes their people tick?

They should also understand employees need to build relationships within the workplace, and it’s important to create a culture that fosters these good relationships.

Managers should certainly understand that people want to be successful in what they do. Therefore, it is management’s responsibility to ensure key employees are offered a clear career path to success and encouraged to “sharpen their saw” as they grow with the company.

That said, companies must do a better job of identifying and selecting talent for leadership positions. Terrific personality assessments are available to assist businesses in making these decisions.

It’s been found that quite often the best leaders are modest, self-aware and have a high degree of emotional intelligence. They allow their teams to share the credit for the organization’s successes.

They are honest and work hard to keep the lines

of communication open. They are open to ideas that come from their teams and give thoughtful consideration to those ideas.

To succeed in a highly competitive business environment, managers should work diligently to make certain their employees feel heard and valued as individuals contributing to the overall team’s success.

(Brad Crowson is the regional manager for WESST, a nonprofit small-business development and training organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in Rio Rancho and N.M. For more information, visit wesst.org or call 892-1238.)

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