It Is Going To Continue To Be Tough

With unemployment continuing to climb it is going to be rough for leaders at all levels. Read on to see how you can make it better for your team.

The following is from an article written by Jennifer Robison , Gallup Management Journal.

Big boost

Employee engagement is an emotional attachment between an employee and a workplace. It is the result of a bond that produces remarkable financial results for companies. Gallup research has shown that business units in the top quartile of engagement have 12% higher customer advocacy, 18% higher productivity, and 12% higher profitability than bottom-quartile business units.

Engagement also links powerfully to financial performance, which is a saving grace when Wall Street is in turmoil. When compared with their industry peers, organizations with more than four engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee saw 2.6 times more growth in earnings per share than did organizations with a ratio of slightly less than one engaged worker for every one actively disengaged employee. And earnings per share for top-quartile (in engagement) organizations outpaced the earnings per share of bottom-quartile companies by 18%. (See “Investors, Take Note: Engagement Boosts Earnings” in the “See Also” area on this page.)

As much as engagement boosts the bottom line, disengagement damages it. The bottom quartile of business units have 51% more inventory shrinkage, 31% to 51% more employee turnover, and 62% more accidents than business units in the top quartile.

The same boat

All this begs the question of how to get employees engaged and keep them that way. Financial chaos and its repercussions, which leaders will be dealing with for years, don’t necessarily disengage employees. In fact, they can present an opportunity to create engagement — but only if handled well.

First, leaders need to remind everyone that they’re all in it together. “Communicate what you’re doing and why,” says McLain. “The way you talk has to include empathy. Ensure that you convey an understanding of any hardship this may be placing on the employees. Employees need to understand the rationale for the company’s decisions and how it’s countering what the competition is doing. They also need to know that the company did not make these decisions lightly. Providing that information helps get everyone involved and gives employees a feeling of inclusion and shared purpose.”

A practical strategy is to ask employees to contribute their ideas for cutting costs or for growing the business. Two of the 12 key elements of employee engagement measure the extent to which employees think that someone at work cares about them and that their opinions seem to count. (See graphic “The 12 Elements of Great Managing.”) Telling people “We’re all in the same boat” then asking them how to plug the leaks reinforces their value to the company. This approach can go a long way toward building engagement — as long as leaders listen and respond to employee comments and suggestions.

This is said a bit differently in my book Creating Magic. Mine is titled, “Remember Everyone is Important:

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