Employee Engagement in the US. What’s Going Wrong?

156974010-300x200Judging from the widely proliferated “people-are-our-greatest-asset-vision statements,” the importance of people and their critical linkage to an organization’s success would appear to be a “generally accepted management principle.“ However, based on the following poll and its very sobering findings, there’s either a fundamental disconnect between “talk and walk” (i.e. we’re not serious) or the methods predominantly used in companies are largely ineffective (traditional tactics are not working). Which is it?…I’m interested to hear your viewpoint. Either way it represents a monumental opportunity for improvement and a potential source of competitive advantage for those that can “get it right.”

The poll is based on the responses of 23,000 U.S. residents employed full time within key industries and across functional areas. It was conducted by the research organizations of Harris Poll and FranklinCovey.

  • “Only 37% said they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.
  • Only 1 in 5 were enthusiastic about their team’s and organization’s goals.
  • Only 1 in 5 workers said they have a clear line of sight between their tasks and their team’s and organization’s goals.
  • Only half were satisfied with the work they have accomplished at the end of the week.
  • Only 15% felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals.
  • Only 15% felt they worked in a high-trust environment.
  • Only 17% felt their organization fosters open communication that is respectful of differing opinions and that results in new and better ideas.
  • Only 10% felt that their organization holds people accountable for results.
  • Only 20% fully trusted the organization they work for.
  • Only 13% have high-trust, highly cooperative working relationships with other groups or departments.”

Source: Forbes.com

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12 Questions to Measure Employee Engagement (…and your own)

Emotional-Salary-300x200For all organizational leaders who are interested in having highly engaged employees the following is invaluable and practical. Five years ago the Gallup research group did an extensive study covering 125 million people in 189 countries that concluded on the following 12 questions that are “the best predictors of employee and workgroup performance.” Want to know if your people are engaged? – ask them!…or bring it a little closer to home and ask YOURSELF. What are the answers? What resonates? Any conclusions?

Gallup’s Twelve Questions 

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the tools and the equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work that encourages my development? 
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important? 
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities to learn and grow?

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Chess or Checkers? The Difference Between Great and Average Managers

Want to be a great manager? Of course there are different styles, but there’s a common denominator…Continuing on the theme of people, and their vital relationship with their superiors, here’s a zoom on what sets great managers apart. It’s written by Marcus Buckingham author of several best-selling books including StandOut 2.0: Assess Your Strengths, Find Your Edge, Win at Work (Harvard Business Review Press).

chess or checkers“In my research, beginning with a survey of 80,000 managers conducted by the Gallup Organization and continuing during the past two years with in-depth studies of a few top performers, I’ve found that while there are as many styles of management as there are managers, there is one quality that sets truly great managers apart from the rest: They discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it. Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess.

The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. You need to plan and coordinate their movements, certainly, but they all move at the same pace, on parallel paths. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you can’t play if you don’t know how each piece moves. More important, you won’t win if you don’t think carefully about how you move the pieces. Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.”

Harvard Business Review

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I Quit! Why Employees Leave (Gallup Study)

An extract from the New York Times on a study performed by the Gallup Organization focused on better understanding why people quit their jobs:

i quit“…most workers rate having a caring boss even higher than they value money or fringe benefits. In interviews with two million employees at 700 companies, Gallup found that how long an employee stays at a company and how productive she is there, is determined by her relationship with her immediate supervisor. ”People join companies and leave managers,” said Marcus Buckingham, a senior managing consultant at Gallup and the primary analyst for the study.”

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Vision to Action: People – and their Dynamic Role on the “Bridge to Growth”

This is the final video (for now) in the series on “Vision to Action – Bridge to Growth.” In this segment I take time to underscore the vital importance and changing roles of people- & leadership- profiles as a company grows. Just like a football coach situationally adapts roles throughout the game (ex. special teams, defense, offense, etc.) your organization depends on you to leverage the full power of your people to win. Understanding these dynamics is the first step towards being able to manage them.