First the good news: although sluggish, employee engagement seems to have improved a tiny bit recently (according to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace 2017 report). Still the vast majority, a shocking 67% are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work.
The economic benefits of engaged employees are clear and well-understood by most organizations. The bigger question they face is: how to fix employee engagement?
A quick way to fix employee engagement
It’s hard—if not impossible—for employees to gain interest into an entity if they do now know what it does, and perhaps even more important: why it does these things. This is especially relevant for millennials—who will make up 75% (!) of the global workforce by 2025— and are known for caring more about purpose than pay.
Your organizational goals reflect what you’re doing, where you want to go and why. Ultimately, this should all come together in your mission & vision. Are your organizational goals known to your employees? Are they easily accessible? Are you sure they understand them?
As a leader, it’s your job to constantly communicate and iterate your organizational goals, ensuring everyone understands them and has them top of mind. That only few leaders succeed at this is proven by Donald Sull’s research, who found that 60% of managers couldn’t name their organization’s top goals at a given point in time. Also, half of employees complain they do not know what is expected of them at work.
At Perdoo, we encourage our customers to set up their mission & vision as the ultimate goal (OKR). An ultimate goal is much easier to understand than the sometimes cumbersome mission & vision statement some organizations have.
The second step is to set your organization’s annual and/or quarterly goals, and to align those to your ultimate goal. Of course all these goals should be easily accessible, and ideally you have some sort of map view so everyone can easily see how everything fits together. Ideally, they can even see how the goals of their team are aligned with this.
Boosting engagement even further
When you define your organization’s annual and/or quarterly goals, I recommend you to survey your employees. Nowadays, with (free) tools like Google Forms, Typeform or SurveyMonkey, you can easily send out a survey to each and every team member, asking them to suggest one company-level goal for the upcoming period. You then discuss the most popular suggestion in your Management or Leadership Team.
You can imagine that if one of the suggested goals makes it to a company-level objective, you’ll have enormous buy-in from the organization. You’ll also find that the next time you send out such a survey, you’ll have a lot more (and a lot better) replies, since most people are skeptical at first.
Not only will this boost employee engagement, you’ll also receive a tremendous amount of insight from the people closest to the ball. They now have a direct communication line to you and the opportunity to let you know what they believe is most important for the organization right now.