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    Posted July 5, 2014 by
    sahildhingra
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    New York City, New York
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Student voices in journalism

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    How Can Leaders Increase Employee Engagement?

     

         Businesses simply can’t afford to have disengaged employees.

     

    Losses from disengaged employees manifest themselves in two ways:

     

    1. Lost work time – employees call in sick frequently, or leave a job shortly after they have received paid training for it.

     

    2. Lost quality of work – employees who dislike their job often do not put forth their best effort. Poor quality work leads to lost revenue as dissatisfied customers will seek out the competition for future products or services.

     

    Since 1996, the performance-management consulting company Gallup has been researching and conducting surveys on employee engagement and disseminating this information to the media. Their conclusions and survey results have been reported in newspapers, and quoted in magazine articles and books on business.

     

    All the research shows that when a business inaugurates and maintains a culture of employee engagement, the company benefits as a whole. Representative articles from Gallup Business Journal™ include “The High Cost of Disengaged Employees,” April 15, 2002; “Turning Around Employee Turnover,” May 8, 2008: and “How to Tackle U.S. Employees’ Stagnating Engagement,” June 11, 2013.

     

    Despite the overwhelming proof that businesses benefit from engaged employees, there are still companies that refuse to implement any of its practices, perhaps because they have tried it half-heartedly in the past, seen no results after a week or so, and abandoned it as a failure.

     

    It’s 2014 and in this uncertain economic climate employee engagement is more important than ever, but may seem more difficult than ever.

     

    How can leaders increase employee engagement?

     

    1. Realize that changing your corporate culture is a process that will take months

     

    Employee engagement begins when employees begin to trust that management is serious about carrying out changes in corporate culture that will give them more of a voice in the company. Earning this trust takes time.

     

    For example, it’s one thing to set up a suggestion box and encourage employees to submit ideas for how things can be improved – from the way a part is manufactured to how management interacts with employees. It is quite another for management to actually communicate to employees that suggestions have been received, and to discuss with them (perhaps in a weekly or a once-a-month meeting) why this or that suggestion can or cannot be implemented.

     

    Once employees see that efforts at engaging them are being actively followed, trust develops and their efforts at engagement with the company will also increase.

     

    2. Get input from the employees themselves

     

    There are a variety of ways to increase employee engagement. Management often makes the mistake of discussing ideas among themselves and then implementing them, without consulting with the employees to learn what they think needs to be done. Should a company invest thousands of dollars in a fitness center in their office building, if only a small percentage of employees will take advantage of it?

     

    3. Put together a long-term plan to foster employee engagement

     

    The implementation of employee engagement principles will not succeed if it is a haphazard affair, with this or that “good idea” thrown out there on a whim, where it withers and dies for lack of roots connecting it to a synergetic whole.

     

    A leader must take the time to get input from the employees as to the types of engagement they want and will embrace, as well as ideas from management, see what has worked for other companies, and then put together a plan that will implement coordinated changes over the course of the year – with, and this is extremely important – regular feedback at each state of the process so that management and employees can see what works and what doesn’t, and modify the process if necessary.

     

    By instituting a long-term process to develop employee engagement, the leader and his or her team/department/company will benefit.

     

    About the Author:

     

    Ravinder has written a step-by-step program that will strengthen your core leadership competencies and provide a foundation for solidifying ‘Your Leadership EDGE’. Unlock your leadership potential by grabbing your copy at http://www.ravindertulsiani.com/

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