According to the Gallup organization, companies with greater employee engagement are 21% more profitable that those with lower employee engagement. Unfortunately, across the nation, 70-75% of all workers are disengaged from their work. Today, only 15% of all workers when surveyed score as completely engaged in their work. This article will address the costs of disengagement and will offer solutions to improve engagement.
Growing profits begins with identifying the costs
We can all wring our hands and complain about disengaged employees. We may even have a sense that their disengagement may be costing us in lack of productivity. It’s another story when we begin to measure the cost. Two studies (1) were recently discussed at a Franklin Covey facilitators workshop which revealed that for every $10,000 of employee salary, $3,400 was lost to disengaged workers. Put another way, 34% of all wages are lost through disengagement.
Following this logic, if a company’s average salary was $60,000 per year, each disengaged workers’ disengagement costs the company $20,400. If this is a better than average company and only 60% of the workforce is disengaged (versus Gallup’s 70-75%), a company with 100 employees, the bottom-line impact on the company is a loss of $1,224,000!
Values, Vision and Voice is only a starting point
Many organizations talk about their vision, and some even post their values on posters throughout the office. “I have an open-door policy”, has been uttered by mid- level managers and C- Suite executives alike, but when it is time for their staff to take advantage of the policy, it takes three weeks to get on the executive’s calendar. When the meeting happens, the exec is checking their text messages and emails. “Your opinion matters around here”, quickly becomes a trite saying without much belief among the staff.
Employee beliefs, trust and feelings become jaded when they see values compromised and vision clouded.
When the open-door policy seems like the “closed-door” policy, employees begin to feel isolated and engagement plummets. As engagement plummets, turnover increases and costs of recruitment and training the new staff begin to add up. This can be avoided by going beyond communicating about values, vision and voice and working on building a culture of connection and conviction.
Tom Peters had it right
Early in my business career, Tom Peters was the management guru to listen to. This was at the same time that hair bands ruled the radio and Top Gun, Back to the Future and The Breakfast Club ruled the big screen. I remember watching my VHS videotape during a training session as Peters screamed the virtues of MBWA. MBWA is an acronym for Managing By Wandering Around. Peters would go on to say that this managing by wandering around was just the start, much like values, vision and voice are the start. “Management is about arranging and telling, while leadership is about nurturing and enhancing” he was often quoted to say.
It is in the nurturing and enhancing that engagement grows and deepens.
Nurturing and enhancing is the way to build a connection between the employee and the organization. In turn, it is how seemingly sterile or aspirational values and vision become transformational, enduring convictions. The effort of nurturing and enhancing creates an affinity between the executive and employee and models how the relationships between staff should flow.
Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate someone, don’t keep it a secret.” ~ Mary Kay Ash
Validation… The Missing “V”
As true leaders nurture and enhance, they are also doing something very important, if not vital in the workplace. True leaders offer a form of validation to the people that they lead and serve alongside with. Employees want to feel like they are an important part of the team. They want to feel like their work matters to the organization and that their opinions matter to the people in leadership as well as their fellow teammates. Employees also want to feel a connection to people that they serve with on the team. It’s no accident that employees that respond in the affirmative that “I have a best friend in my place of work” have longer tenure and that they stay engaged in the important matters of the company.
Sailing to greater profits
There’s no better place to learn the importance of employee engagement and how to build greater team connections than on the deck of a sailboat. The lessons gained from sailing can help unify your team as well as open up the dialog about what is slowing down the progress to the vision, mission, shared language, trust and respect that are vital to success.
Let’s schedule a time for your team to get out on the water to grow together, relax together and create a breakthrough together. Who knows, it might just lead to greater productivity and profitability.