Two Simple Steps to Dramatically Improve Engagement

According to research conducted by Gallup, 85% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. That’s a pretty daunting statistic and one that should set your alarm bells ringing.

Let’s be clear, employee engagement isn’t just a nice-to-have concept bandied about by well-meaning HR types - it’s a commercial imperative that can be the difference between success or failure.

Research shows us that organisations with high levels of engagement also have much higher productivity and profitability. In fact, the benefits of having an engaged workforce also include higher levels of retention, better customer engagement and faster growth.

Be in no doubt that if your competitors have a much more engaged workforce than you then you’re in for a bumpy ride unless you start taking employee engagement seriously.

To get that all-important competitive advantage, it’s crucial that you tip the balance so that you have more people who are engaged than not because highly engaged people vastly outperform their less engaged colleagues and can counteract their negative impact.

So how do you improve engagement?

Here are two simple areas of focus that will make a huge difference to your team’s engagement levels:

Foster an Environment that Leverages Strengths

One great way to improve employee engagement is developing the ability to tap into people’s strengths and enable them to utilise them at the right time and place. When people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours are highly aligned and attuned with what they are doing they will achieve much better results and feel more passionate about doing so.

Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles that can get in the way of people utilising their strengths in pursuit of their goals:

  • Not everyone knows what their strengths are
  • Their strengths might not typically match their role
  • They may not value their strengths or see how they can apply them
  • Their strengths may not be ‘seen’ or valued by others
  • They may have been mislabelled, negatively or positively
  • They may feel undermined, stifled or railroaded by others
  • Their strengths may appear counter-cultural
  • The culture of the organisation may prevent their strengths from shining through

Getting underneath all of these issues might mean you need to re-evaluate the way you manage, communicate and organise your team. A sledge-hammer approach will not do; you can’t demand that people show their strengths, you must invite people to do so freely and willingly by creating engaging conditions for them to contribute their excellence.

Adopt Operational Coaching™ as your de facto management style

Adopting Operational Coaching™ as your primary management style is a good way to set the right foundations. When you stop telling people what to do and instead ask insightful questions you will soon see the people around you unshackle themselves from the learned helplessness they have become accustomed to. As their self-awareness and confidence increases, they will be in a better position to identify what they are good at, how they can leverage their strengths, and understand how they need to be stretched to meet their personal and organisational goals.

A sustained Operational Coaching™ approach that is used ‘in the moment’ and ‘on the job’ will help you to foster an atmosphere of accountability and support which makes room for strengths to flourish. You will start noticing and understanding the innate strengths of everyone in your team which will help you to build a high functioning, collaborative and engaged team. Once everyone is playing to their strengths the impact on performance, productivity and ultimately on people’s engagement at work will be dramatic.