Understanding Employee Engagement

Employee engagmentEmployee Engagement: there is a tremendous amount of information on this topic. I believe we have all read about how having highly engaged employees can make an extremely positive impact on our businesses.

What I recently learned and want to share with you is how far off base we are as leaders.

I ran across a recent article by McKinsey & Company entitled How Leaders Kill Meaning At Work. It’s a fascinating read about how senior executives routinely undermine employee commitment.

One of my key take aways was from the McKinsey survey of 669 managers at all levels of management from dozens of companies and various industries around the world. They asked these managers to rank the importance of five employee motivators: incentives, recognition, clear goals, interpersonal support and progress at work.

I think we would all agree that all five of these are very important. But do you know which one is most important?

According to the survey results, only 8% of senior executives ranked progress at work as the most important motivator. Unfortunately, 92% of senior executives don’t understand that the single most important motivator for high employee engagement is progress at work. But it’s not just any sort of progress at work that matters. The first and fundamental requirement is that the work be meaningful to the people doing it.

Let me repeat, the most important requirement is that the work be meaningful to the people doing it.

So, here are a few key questions/comments to get you thinking:

1. What are you doing in your organization to understand how each of your employees defines what is meaningful work to them?

2. Are you so focused on strategy and WHAT your organization does that you ignore WHY you do what you do and WHY it may be meaningful to others?

3. What hiring processes do you utilize to see if there is a match so your employees can engage in meaningful work as they define it?

Answer these questions and you will be on your way to increasing your employee engagement.

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