According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 51% of the American workforce is not engaged. Even if some of those who were disengaged left their companies during the Great Resignation, disengagement continues to be a real issue. The poll also revealed that the cost associated with the productivity loss from disengaged employees is staggering – around $600 billion each year!
Employee engagement is imperative to sustaining an organization’s success. And I believe that at the heart of engagement is how valued employees feel. In her masterfully written April 2021 article, Jennifer Orechwa explored the importance of employee engagement. In Orechwa’s definition of engagement, she shows how commitment, connection and motivation leads to a sense of belonging and increased fulfillment from work. (The link to the full article is included below - great read and useful information!).
“Genuine engagement means people find purpose and meaning in their work, which drives them to do their best.” – Jennifer Orechwa
While there are many factors contributing to the level of employee engagement within an organization, one of the most important factors is the relevance employees experience in their roles. Patrick Lencioni, in his book The Truth About Employee Engagement, discusses irrelevance as a primary contributor to misery in a job.
“When people lose sight of their impact on other people’s lives, or worse yet, when they come to the realization that they have no impact at all, they begin to die emotionally.” – Patrick Lencioni
When I read Lencioni’s statement, a zombie-like image comes to mind – and that has nothing to do with just coming out of Halloween. Honestly, I think of myself during a season when I felt truly irrelevant – and completely unvalued in my career. For me, I did not lose sight of how my contribution was impacting, or could impact, the organization and others; rather, the irrelevance was more intricately connected to very poor leadership.
I am not going to minimize the personal responsibility we all hold as employees to show up committed to giving our best efforts – this is an important part of engagement. However, leaders also have a critical part, and perhaps more so, to preserve the kind of work environment that encourages and sustains engagement.
There are many useful steps organizations can take to improve employee engagement (and this is also very well-articulated in Jennifer Orechwa’s April 2021 LinkedIn Article). But one of the best ways to improve engagement across the organization is to ensure people are in roles that allow them to leverage their strengths. This does not mean that employees never do work outside of their areas of strengths; but the key is to aim maximize the time spent using their strengths. When people are doing work that uses their God-given talents, they are much more fulfilled; they derive greater joy from their work and are much more engaged. Similarly, when leaders help their teams tap into their strengths this results in “much more successful and productive” teams and organizations (Patrick Lencioni, The 6 Types of Working Genius).
So, leaders, let’s get engaged! Learning the Working Genius of your team members is one of the easiest steps you will take toward increasing engagement. Armed with a better understanding of each person’s strengths, leaders can take the intentional and practical steps to ensure that employees are in roles that align with their giftedness. Knowing their Working Genius is also empowering to the employees because it helps them chart their aspirations to maximize their contributions and successes.
Take the step today to transform your team’s engagement and productivity.
Link to Jennifer Orechwa Article "Why Is Employee Engagement Important?" | LinkedIn
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