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Get in the Game!

By Angela Fletcher, SPHR, President, The Angela Fletcher Co.

The good news: Employees really want to give more to their organizations – they want to go the extra mile. They’re just waiting for their employers to give them a reason to leave work every day having given it their all.

Sobering truths: Towers Perrin’s Global Workforce Study reveals that nearly four out of five workers aren’t living up to their full potential or doing what it takes to help their organizations succeed. Researchers also found that roughly two out of five have already “checked out” to some extent. And according to Gallup, companies with low levels of engagement eventually experience declines in financial performance. With all of these dark clouds out there, one could easily feel discouraged. But as is often the case, there’s a silver lining...if you look for it.

The good news: Employees really want to give more to their organizations – they want to go the extra mile. They’re just waiting for their employers to give them a reason to leave work every day having given it their all. Until then, about 70% of the employees in the average organization will continue to do just enough not to jeopardize their paychecks.

This means the ball is in the employer’s court, and each organization has to decide: Are we going to accept the engagement plight and another losing season, or do we emphatically reject it and change the game? I believe the organizations that will enjoy long-term success will be the “game-changers” – those who are relentless about figuring out how to connect with each and every employee in meaningful ways.

10 Drivers of Engagement

More good news: Leadership at all levels within the organization can facilitate this invaluable connection. After surveying almost 90,000 employees, Towers Perrin reports that the Top 10 Drivers of Employee Engagement Globally are:

  1. Senior management sincerely interested in employee well being
  2. Improved my skills and capabilities over the last year
  3. Organization’s reputation for social responsibility
  4. Input into decision making in my department
  5. Organization quickly resolves customer concerns
  6. Set high personal standards
  7. Have excellent career advancement opportunities
  8. Enjoy challenging work assignments that broaden skills
  9. Good relationship with supervisor
  10. Organization encourages innovative thinking

At least half of these drivers are envisioned and implemented at an organizational level (i.e., senior management interest in employees, social responsibility, resolving customer concerns, career advancement and innovative thinking), which means senior leadership is definitely a linchpin in the engagement equation. This being the case, enduring strategy, long-term commitment and careful execution are required to effectively leverage these drivers – and it’s well worth every measure of effort.

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5 Simple Steps

Perhaps the best news: The remaining drivers are simpler to leverage and can be “operationalized” at a local level. Today, a leader could begin to impact his or her team’s engagement by implementing these five simple steps:

  • Ask each employee two important questions: 1) What motivates you to do your best work? and 2) How do you like to be recognized for a job well done? Appreciating that each employee is unique and has different intrinsic motivators will serve an organization well.
  • Have a quality discussion with each employee to seek clarity and obtain context around his or her responses.
  • Become familiar with each employee’s responses. Consider creating a matrix with all of your direct reports’ information for an easy reference.
  • Use the information to partner with each employee to establish performance goals, craft developmental/stretch opportunities and solicit their input related to departmental decisions.
  • Behave as a good steward of people and remember that engagement is a result of consistently getting a lot of the little stuff right.

It really is time to change the game! Find out today what motivates each team member and how he or she likes to be recognized. Then, devise unique plays that will get each person off of the bench and enthusiastically giving their all in the game. The result: many winning plays and record seasons of performance.

Angela Fletcher is the President of The Angela Fletcher Company, a human capital consultancy based in Atlanta, GA. Her company is focused on helping organizations Lead Differently™. She previously held various senior-level leadership roles at Coca-Cola Enterprises. For more information, go to @@http://www.theangelafletcherco.com or contact her at:

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September/October 2010

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