For companies this means the economy is losing out on $450B of economic opportunity due to lack of engagement by their most valuable asset - people.
For employees this means that 7 out of 10 of us are not that happy getting out of bed in the morning and thinking about the day ahead at the office.
What's fascinating is that the results haven't changed much in the 12 years Gallup has been conducting the report. Despite knowing that employee engagement and well being are clear drivers of profitability, productivity, and retention, companies have been challenged to change their cultures.
Does this mean companies are ignoring these insights or are they trying hard to increase engagement and failing? We believe it's the latter and are surprised companies find it so difficult.
One of the main takeaways from the report is a reaffirmation of something many of us already know. People leave jobs because of their managers. Not to pick on managers too much, but they do have the highest level of influence over an employee's engagement level at work.
“Gallup has found that managers who focus on their employees’ strengths can practically eliminate active disengagement and double the average of U.S. workers who are engaged nationwide.“
While we aren't going to offer a silver bullet to the disengagement issue in a blog post, we can at least highlight the top three things companies can start doing right away to help their managers be more effective.
1. Encourage more communication - Coach managers to develop employee strengths by focusing on timely feedback.
Employee engagement goes beyond a focus on opportunities for advancement and an understanding of expectations. While each generation has different needs, manager who communicate with team members on all aspects of an employee's well-being tend to foster a culture of engagement.
2. Work even harder at aligning the workforce to company values - Only 41% of employees feel they understand what their company stands for and what makes its brand different than competitors.
When organizations successfully engage their customers and their employees, they experience a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes. If employees know the values they become brand ambassadors
3. Ask Employees - Gallup offers a well-tested survey of the key questions that drive engagement. Page 19 summarizes them well.
As a parting thought, we believe strongly in the power of a thank you and regular reinforcement of each team member's contributions. Sometimes public praise is necessary and other times a private moment is the best way to tell a colleague good job. Sounds simple, but it seems like we aren't doing enough of it.