Let me ask you a question, “Are your people fully engaged with your business?”

Well, the evidence suggests that they’re probably not.

Here’s some revealing research from Kelly Global Workforce Index….

  • 52% of people are happy in their current job
  • 43% regularly think about quitting
  • 55% are looking for a job
  • 29% said that they would recommend their employer to a colleague or friend
  • 63% say their manager has a direct influence on their job satisfaction…and clearly managers are not doing a great job in having a positive influence, given all the other figures

So, what makes for great staff engagement…where people actually care about their work and their company?

Well, the clever people at Thomas International have done the research and it shows that the key components are:

  • Clarity – clarity of role and purpose
  • Challenge – enjoyable and relevant work
  • Freedom – flexibility to choose and make decisions
  • Recognition – praise and appreciation
  • Growth – opportunities to develop
  • Voice -ideas and opinions respected
  • Togetherness – co-operation, support and trust

At the heart of all of this, in my opinion, is the ability for us to do things differently as Leaders. Not to accept the norm, that 50% of your workforce are dispassionate. To do something about this, we need to think and act differently.

  • We can treat people as unique human beings, rather than as an homogenous group, as most employers do. We can get to understand properly their individual motivations and behaviours and help them to play to their different and unique strengths, work styles and preferences, so they can the most out of themselves and us, them.
  • We can become more emotionally intelligent, unlike most leaders actually are. By becoming more self-aware of ourselves and of other around others,  we can adapt our own style and connect better, creating better co-operation and highly engaged and performing teams.
  • We can develop a clear sense of Purpose for our business, rather than just an obsession with its financials. Be defined by a mission, a cause, by caring and by changing people’s lives. It’s then about surrounding yourself with people who care about the same things as you do. Mind-share, not market-share.
  • We can better understand our business’ Culture – what we are about, how we do things, what’s we value and are important to us. Once we understand it, we can re-enforce it and grow it – with the people who share our beliefs and values. And with those common values, comes mutual understanding trust and loyalty.  The majority of businesses don’t stand for much and therefore mean little to others, including their people.
  • We can truly treat people as our most important asset and continue to develop them. A lot of leaders say it, but don’t do it. We spend a pittance on people development compare to other things like IT. It’s not necessarily about sending people on training courses either.  It’s about spending (quality) time with them, coaching them, understanding the real barriers and helping them to come up with their own answers, because those are the most powerful ones.
  • We can properly empower others. We live in an uncertain world and, in that world, control has to “go out to the window”, but many leaders want to hang on to it. The alternative is being clear with people on their objectives and then providing them with the space to learn, to come up with their own solutions: allowing them to test new things, to evaluate them, to fail fast or succeed – and then move on to the next iteration. That’s true empowerment!

Do the test. Consider each of the Thomas International Staff Engagement factors – from Clarity to Togetherness. What would your people really score you and your business, out of , say, 10?. If you think the number is too low, is it about time to think and do things differently…because consider this…

…those businesses with upper quotile staff engagement (i.e. in the top 25%)…

  • deliver 18% more productivity
  • have 40% lower staff turnover
  • achieve 2x the net profit compared to the rest.

Now that’s what I call Return on Investment!