Two Warning Signs That A Company Isn’t Serious About Employee Engagement
by Mark Murphy, Founder of Leadership IQ
Without fail, every company will say they care instinctively about employee engagement and that their people are their greatest assets.
And yet despite all of this (including the billions they spend on maintaining employee morale), we all know that actual employee engagement continues to suffer.
If you want to know whether your organization is serious about engaging employees, check out these two warning signs:
Warning Sign #1: Insufficient or ineffective mentoring conversations
How often do your leaders conduct mentoring and coaching conversations with their direct reports?
Whatever your answer, it’s likely these conversations aren’t happening often enough. And even if they are taking place with sufficient frequency, it’s likely that those meetings aren’t quite effective enough.
In the study, The State Of Leadership Development, we discovered a majority of leaders are not taking an active role helping employees grow and develop to their full potential. Only 20% of employees say their leader always takes an active role in helping them to grow and develop their full potential.
By contrast, 29% of employees say that their leader never or rarely takes an active role in helping them grow.
If a manager decided not to submit their budget, or expenses, or some other mandatory report for an entire quarter, what would happen to that manager? The chances are that manager would be searching for a new job.
But what happens to a manager who skips coaching conversations with their employees for a quarter?
In most companies, the most serious consequence is getting a gentle nudge from human resources.
Warning sign #2: Unwillingness to fix frustrations
There’s no shortage of frustrations, roadblocks, and timewasters in a typical job.
We’ve all felt the annoyance of rushing to write a report that no one reads, the vexation that comes from sitting through a meeting that should have been an email, and the agitation resulting from micromanagement.
But while we grasp the ubiquity of these hassles, far too many leaders miss the extent to which these frustrations corrode employees’ engagement.
In the Leadership IQ study, Frustration At Work, we learned that the frustrations employees endure are so severe that around 60% say they want to look for other jobs completely.
Meanwhile, 83% of people say that if those frustrations were fixed, they would be significantly happier at work.
So ask yourself this: How many leaders at your company regularly sit down with their employees to, first, discover their frustrations and, second, work to alleviate them?
The tragedy is that many frustrations are easy to fix if only leaders had the courage to surface them. Unclear directions, not prioritizing assignments, too many meetings, lack of feedback, and micromanaging are all common employee frustrations, and every one of them can be corrected immediately.
Employee engagement is like a marathon
The Employee engagement is not that dissimilar to training for a marathon. You can read books about running, join a running group, buy the best sneakers, and hire a coach.
But none of those things matter if you don’t get outside and consistently log some mileage.
The kinds of simple actions noted above matter far more to improving employees’ engagement than all the HR software, task forces, and fancy recognition programs combined.
If you really want engaged employees, you can’t dump everything on HR and hope they magically fix it all...managers MUST be the driving force!
This 4-week course, called How Great Managers Drive Employee Engagement, gives managers all the tools they need to increase employee engagement. It starts next week...
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