To be a leader, engage your employees.

If your company does not have an active employee engagement program, you’re missing out on so much more than you realize.

Shapeimage_5By Joe Basques
Vice President, Footwasher Media

Most managers we come in contact with on a daily basis tend to think they have a relatively happy workforce, but according to a recent survey 87% of global employees are not happy to come to work.  That’s almost 9 of 10! You may not want to believe it, but your employees don’t like coming to work.

Llya Pozi, in a recent post to LinkedIn discussed some of the reasons workers give for hating their jobs.  I thought I’d list a few of them and add my insight on how to solve these problems.

The old “grass is greener thinking”

Social media has made it easier for people to share when things are going good at work, while most people who are not happy tend to keep it to themselves.  The unhappy ones see friends at other companies doing well and they get unhappier with their current job.  If your employees aren’t telling people how great their job is in social media, you may have a problem. Don’t attribute their silence as happiness. The interesting thing to note here is that even though the grass may seem greener on the other side, it’s clearly not in many cases, or the worker dissatisfaction survey numbers would not be so high.

Misaligned values

Few companies make the effort to explain corporate values to their workers, assuming

Engaged employees
Gallup poll results

they even have them.  Employees need to know why they are there and what they are contributing too.  There may be employee newsletters and memos flying around, but few companies have the means to determine if they are even being read and engaged with.  This is particularly worrisome in an age when the means to maintain a back and forth communication exists with very little investment.  That lack of investment usually creates the next problem:


Workers don’t feel valued

Recognition gives birth to feelings of value and loyalty and that goes beyond monetary rewards.  Successful companies regularly ask employees what they value and base their rewards on their response.  If the employees asks a particular insightful question or makes a constructive remark, posting it in a company newsletter makes ALL your employees believe that the company knows, understands, and VALUES them. After all, a company is only as good as its employees.  Besides, it costs nothing.

Job insecurity — This one isn’t rocket science, but it seems to be foreign territory for most companies.  Most employees feel they are just a hair breadth from losing their job, and they are out looking for their next one as a result.  If you don’t feel stable in your job, you won’t be happy.  The company that lets them know exactly what is going on when it is going on makes them want to stay engaged as a team.

Mediocre Management

In a recent interview, famed investor Carl Ichan said he believes mediocre management in many businesses is a major problem today.  It’s such a problem, he believes, that it’s actually holding the economy back.  As with most problems, the solution here is to ask your employees (and managers for that matter) if they think this is a problem.  I’m not talking about once a year for the annual performance review.  With the technology available today there’s no reason this can’t be done on a quarterly basis and at the employee’s speed and in the channel they prefer.  Doing so in the employees preferred channel of communication encourages engagement.  

There is one element that mitigates each and every one of these challenges and makes you a leader employees are happy to follow - It’s an active content program specifically tailored to your employees.  

When most companies are developing content programs, it’s to sell goods and services, and find new customers. A strategic content program will do all that, but it is best at helping a company redefine itself and become a better business. And that starts with employees being a part of the program. It’s pretty simple really.

The first step of developing strategic content is listening.  Why do your employees think the grass is greener somewhere else?  What would make them feel valued?  Do you know if their values line up with the company’s?  Ask them, not a committee.  Acknowledge their input just as you would a customer when you are looking to make a sale.  Your content for them and, amazingly enough, for your customers will start to flow out of that conversation.  Wish your managers were better trained?  Roll out some content just for them.  A training protocol can be rapidly deployed and included as part of your content program.  If your managers are trained those under them will be happier to come to work. 

The Reward

If you’re not engaging your employees, you’re missing out of so much more than sales.  The benefits of employee engagement are too numerous for this blog post.  Here is just a quick sample from 28 different research studies that all (without exception) point to the benefits of engaged employees

If your company does not have an active employee engagement program, you’re missing out on so much more than you realize.

For a free consultation on creating an employee engagement program click here.