Higher engagement = stronger business performance

Time and time again CEOs complain to me that their staff just don't care as much about their business as they do. The truth is: they never will!

Here's why. They don't have as much skin in the game as you do. It's not their 'baby' that they've conceived, envisioned and brought to life with blood sweat and tears. It's not their ticket to financial freedom in the way that it is for you.

What if, instead of sinking your energy into expecting them to care about your business in an equal measure, instead of disengaging them with your frustration, you put your energy into building genuine staff engagement. By engagement, I mean the energy and drive to go above and beyond what is expected of them and a strong loyalty to you and your business.

Rihard Branson

Rihard Branson

How do you begin to build staff engagement?

  1. Figure out what really makes them tick. Success of your business might make you tick, but it is not typically shared by staff - not even your most senior managers. I have found that often staff don't truly know what drives them. What helps? The best tools I have found so far are personality profiling tools like Facet5, and self-assessment tools like LifeStyles Inventory. Both provide incredible insights for people and help them uncover the thinking and behaviours that are either propelling them forward or holding them back. Another effective technique is the Moving Motivators activity to uncover the unique combination of factors that influence a persons' motivation. Combined with coaching (or the leader taking a coaching approach), you can uncover the key that unlocks the door to a persons' drive.
  2. Demonstrate you are interested and care about them. Consistently show them in your words, actions and body language that you are interested in, and care about them, as a fellow human being. You don't need to be best buddies, nor do you need to delve into each-others' personal worlds. But you do need to deal with the reality that people bring their whole selves wherever they go, including work. And when they show up with a troubled mind, it is your job to ask: "Are you okay?" A little care can go a long, long way.
  3. Recognise the good they are doing! If there is one FREE and highly effective motivation tool that I'd recommend you use - it is this one. It is massively under-leveraged in most of the organisations I work in. It costs nothing more than a few seconds of your time. A quick tip for keeping this front of mind: place five 5 cent coins in your left hand pocket at the start of the day. Each time you provide positive recognition to a staff member, move a coin to your right pocket. Your aim: move all five coins by the end of each day. Pay attention to the difference this makes over time. You will be pleasantly surprised!
  4. Leverage their genius zone. Do you really know what skills, talents and experience staff have and want to put to good use? It's really easy to assume staff members are content. Too often when I ask Leaders, "What are your staff members' career goals?" "What are their greatest strengths?". "What tasks do they enjoy most and and want to do more of?". The answers are often filled with assumptions. Leaders are often worried that they wont be able to meet those needs and desires, so they'd rather not ask. Guess what? It wont change what staff want. But what if you CAN match their job to their greatest strengths and interests? That's a golden opportunity that will absolutely build engagement. They will go above and beyond and be loyal to you. So I encourage you to ask the open questions and give plenty of time for staff to fill you in. Then do what you can to align their job to their strengths and interests (as long as it also fulfills a business need of course).

Higher engagement = higher output and loyalty and stronger business performance.

Don't take my word for it. Gallup, a research-based firm established in 1936 by George Gallup, analysed the opinions of 29 million employees and found those business units with the top levels of engagement have:

  • 21% high productivity
  • 22% high profitability
  • 10% higher customer metrics
  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 65% less turnover

than those business units with lowest engagement. Engagement is palpable and quantifiable.

If you want to measure just how engaged your staff are I will happily point to the right engagement measurement tools for your business that will give you very specific insight into where to put your energy for maximum gain. What drives staff isn't necessarily what drives you. So let's unleash their full potential and in doing so, your business' full potential!

Lana Johnson

Leadership Facilitator - Executive Coach - Change Manager - Guest Speaker - Consultant

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