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Monday, July 8, 2013

The Cost of Ignoring Employee Engagement

There are countless studies on employee engagement and the value that engaged employees bring to your organization.  Despite this however, not enough employers are actually taking the steps to engage their employees and there is a direct correlation between the cost of ignoring employee engagement and embracing it.  The cost is high.  Blessingwhite said it best in their findings: 'engaged employees stay for what they can give.  Disengaged employees stay for what they can get. 

According to Gallup research, companies with low employee engagement have higher safety incidents, more sick days, higher turnover, more quality control issues, etc. all costing the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion each year. Health-related costs alone to the employer in a suffering company are $11,709 versus $4,395 for a company that is thriving and has engaged employees.  The research has also shown that companies shedding jobs are more likely to be the ones with disengaged employees, a signal that publicly traded companies don't necessarily want to give.

The research also shows that publicly traded companies with high engagement, enjoy higher earnings per share.  So, what are some tips to engage employees?  Here are 7 tips to implement immediately:

1.  Live up to promises - Managers can greatly contribute to the engagement cycle by living up to promises and commitments made to their direct reports. 

2.  Fully utilize your talent - All too often Managers pigeon hole their employees or quite frankly don't understand the employee's full experience and education. Taking the time to understand an employees full skill set and actually using it will go a long way to engaging that employee.

3.  Career Development - Be sure to include career planning and development for your employees.  Again taking the time to know and understand the employee's interests will help guide you and the employee toward a solid future.

4.  Regular Meetings - Have regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports.  Arrive on time and pay full attention to the employee.  Arriving late, leaving early, taking phone calls during the meeting, reading email or perpetually cancelling the meeting, without rescheduling sends a strong message that you don't care about that employee.

5.  Inclusion - Seek our input and ideas from your direct reports.  Show that their input matters and that they can contribute to the bigger picture. 

6.  Publicly recognize your Employees - Don't wait for a special occasion or the end of a project to recognize the contribution of your direct reports.  Use internal communications tools, social media and mass email to thank employees on a regular basis.  Ensure that the recognition is genuine and heartfelt.  Insincere thanks is worse than no thanks.

7. Give them Authority - Demonstrate that you believe in them by giving your senior team the opportunity to fill in for you when you are out.  Leaving no one in charge signals that you either can't trust your direct reports or that you are insecure about leaving someone else in charge.  If you have several people as direct reports that are at the same level, take turns leaving them in charge. 

These are just some things that you can do to engage your employees. There are many others.  What would you suggest a company do to ensure employee engagement?

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