What does it take to have an engaged workforce? Is it a ping pong table in the breakroom and unlimited vacation and sick pay? Is it a flexible work environment allowing employees to set their own schedules?
If your eyes were rolling and you were wondering just how you were going to make that happen, worry no more. According to research conducted by Gallup®, these types of fringe benefits are not what make an engaged workforce. The things that do will cost you less in hard dollars yet require you to engage with people, who are often confusing and sometimes overwhelming. Engagement in the workforce is the same as the romantic engagement, it happens between people.
There are three keys to creating an engaged workforce:
- Selecting the right people seems so obvious, yet all of us have either hired or had to work with someone who just wasn’t the right fit. Good hiring goes beyond the ability of someone with the skills to perform the job. Mindset, attitude and culture also play an important role. Beyond the initial hiring process, what weighs more heavily in employee engagement is selecting the right managers. More often than not, people don’t quit jobs, they quit the manager. When you consider the process by which most managers get selected, they are either star performers or have been with the company the longest, so it’s easy to end up with managers not prepared to manage others. When selecting a manager, focus on their ability to get to know and develop others while keeping an eye on the metrics that drive performance.
- Developing employees’ strengths will be one of the most productive roles your manager performs. According to Gallup®, employees who have the chance to use their strengths every day are SIX TIMES more likely to be engaged on the job. Remember what the lack of engagement can cost? Managers are uniquely positioned to come to know and develop the strengths of the people on their team. Using a tool such as the Clifton StrengthsFinder® assessment will help both the manager and the team better understand the unique talents of each individual as well as the potential that lies within.
- Enhance employees’ well-being. This at first glance appears to be a rather large undertaking. If we break it down, we can see how a company and its great managers can influence well-being. Most people spend at least one-half of their waking hours in the work environment and we know that work influences home and personal life and vice-versa. In studies conducted among its client groups, Gallup® has found that engaged employees are generally in better health and have healthier habits than those not engaged. In turn, these engaged employees have fewer chronic health problems and miss fewer days of work. These are also the same employees likely to participate in a company-sponsored wellness program. Well-being also includes community and social involvement as well as financial well-being. An entire book could be written on just this topic, and it has! Well-Being by Tom Rath and Jim Harter is a great compliment to the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book and the assessment.
So where should you start in engaging your employees? A conversation focusing on strengths can go a long way in engaging your workforce. Take the Clifton StrengthsFinder® assessment for yourself and discover your strengths. You will see just how empowering this knowledge can be. If you would like a plan for implementing strengths or either of the other two keys in this article, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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