Thank God It's Monday!® Blog

Employee engagement is not yesterday’s news – it’s tomorrow’s

It’s as predictable as the sunrise. Now that employee engagement has been on everyone’s lips for a while, it’s time for the backlash. Countless articles and talking heads are now saying employee engagement is a flash in the pan, the flavor of the month, yesterday’s news.

That’s not just a concern for management. It’s a concern for employees. After all, it’s YOUR engagement they’re talking about!

Don’t believe the naysayers for a minute. The research says otherwise—not just one or two studies in obscure journals, but hundreds of studies by major researchers published in the top business and management journals. Employee engagement directly drives employee productivity.

Engagement also drives retention. Deloitte’s annual Best Companies to Work For survey found that engaged employees are much more likely to stay longer than disengaged employees, even if the disengaged employees earn more. The staying power of higher income wears off in the face of the disengagement.

So tell those naysayers to tell it to the hand. And while you’re at it, make sure the boss knows as well. Employee engagement is a proven winner, and it’s here to stay.

Employee engagement is everyone’s job—that includes you. What are you doing today to make sure you “choose” to enjoy our job more AND make it a better place to work.

How’s your relationship with your boss?

A recent study by Dale Carnegie Training found that fewer than 30 percent of employees are fully engaged at work. But the survey went further, asking those engaged employees what accounts for their engagement. The number one factor? Their relationship with their immediate supervisor.

This isn’t the first time personal relationships have been found to be important for engagement. Gallup research has found the same result for years.

That doesn’t mean managers and direct reports have to go on long walks together or bond over a candlelight dinner. They just have to communicate clearly and authentically, connect, and bring their whole hearts and minds to their workplace relationships.

Your relationship with your boss is one of your most important relationships. Fortunately a great deal is in your control. Keep her fully informed on the status of things, always tell the truth, go above and beyond, and always support her projects.

Most of all, speak positively about your boss. Of course she has flaws…and so do you. Ask for what you need and don’t beat her up for what she isn’t. Bring your higher self to the relationship.

Nurture your relationship with your boss and build trust by hitting your numbers and your deadlines and you will build a relationship that will serve you well all through your career.

Building renewal into the day

Business author Tony Schwartz has spent fifteen years looking at the American workplace, so he knows that engagement is always a struggle. But the latest numbers even took him by surprise.

70% of workers say they lack time for creative or strategic thinking. Two-thirds say they can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. And nearly as many say they never have time for the things they enjoy most in their work. The urgent, he said, overwhelms the important on a daily basis.

The solution is to take control of your boundaries. There are no finish lines any more in American business. We are going all the time. But research shows that being relentlessly “on” diminishes productivity, creativity, and focus.

Turn off your devices and don’t reply to emails in the evening or on most weekends. Encourage others to do the same so it becomes the norm at your company.

If you have control over your break schedule, short breaks every 90 minutes DRAMATICALLY increase focus and productivity, much more than a single long lunch break.

Do what you can to work smarter, not harder, and the results will speak for themselves.

Build customer loyalty when things go wrong

Customer loyalty is the golden goose of any business. Yet too many think that loyalty begins and ends with great products and services. You’ve got to look beyond the product to your reputation in the community.

And that has everything to do with how you treat the customer – especially when things go wrong.

It’s easy to handle customers with simple questions or needs. Do it well, do it with a smile—but know that that moment isn’t where your reputation is made. It’s in the thornier, more emotional moments, the times you are solving sticky problems for the customer, that your reputation in the community is made or lost.

When a customer comes to you with a problem, DROP EVERYTHING. Nothing matters more in that moment. Own the problem immediately, empathize with their frustration, and make it clear that you will not stop until it’s resolved to their full satisfaction.

There is no better feeling as a customer than knowing your frustration is coming to an end.

A perfect product or service is good. But solve a problem quickly and well, and customer loyalty is yours to keep.

Keeping Millennials on board

So you have mixed feelings about all the new Millennial generation employees around you. Hey, join the crowd. There’s plenty of talk about a lack of focus and commitment in these folks and whether they should even be hired in the first place.

Here’s a wake-up call: Unless your company can survive a generation-wide hole in the workforce (psst: it can’t), they WILL be hired. In fact, by 2025, those born between 1980 and 2000 will make up 75 percent of the workforce. For every one of us, there will be three of them!

Learning how to keep Millennials engaged and productive should be a top priority not only for managers but for the colleagues of these younger employees. It won’t always be easy. No generation has ever been as willing to jump ship for better wages or working conditions. When that happens, it’s hard on everyone.

It’s true that some Millennials want to be paid for doing nothing, but every generation has some of those, especially when they are young. But far from being lazy, the best of the Millennials are actually MORE likely to stay if they have challenging and meaningful work assignments that hold their interest.

So when you’re on a project with younger coworkers, don’t assume they can only handle the more routine tasks, and be sure to ask their opinions when you can. You might be surprised at what you get.

And don’t forget the importance of a little positive feedback once in a while. It can mean even more coming from you than from the boss.