Are You an Engaged Employee?

I have probably talked about this subject before, but employee engagement (or lack thereof) continues to be a topic-of-interest in the employment world…from the perspective of both employers and employees. If you as an employee are not substantially engaged in or with your job and your company, at some point the situation will begin deteriorating. Eventually, it can lead to your departure–either voluntarily or involuntarily. Fairly recently, I have seen at least two articles touching on various aspects of this topic. The most recent to catch my attention is titled “I Don’t Mean to Be Offensive, But Your Employee Engagement Stinks” by Teresa Hopke.

Is Your Engagement Level in the 37% Minority?

Hopke cites a Towers Watson survey indicating that 63% of workers are not engaged and are struggling to cope with work, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that only 37% of you are reasonably engaged and satisfied. The article is addressed to companies, which Hopke is taking to task for not doing their job in terms of developing strong employee engagement. What I see as important here for you as a job seeker and/or self-career-manager is that you might want to take a serious look at what your current employer is or is not doing to engage you and keep you engaged. If the company is doing a decent job–maybe even a great one, if you’re lucky–you can congratulate yourself on having picked a good place to work! On the other hand, if you’re in that 63% majority who would probably like to be working somewhere else, and soon, you have some work to do to change your situation.

For the moment, though, I want to touch on a big point that Hopke makes in her article. She talks about companies needing to “earn” the engagement of their employees, and she gives as an example her attendance at a Neil Diamond concert. Here’s just part of what she says about it: “He came out on stage, told us that he has been playing that particular venue since 1971, and then proceeded to say ‘We want to earn your loyalty tonight.’ Imagine after 40 years of playing a venue and 20,000 people paying big bucks to see his show, he walked out on stage with the goal of earning his fan’s [fans’] loyalty!

What if your company had the same goal each and every day your employees arrived for ‘the show?’ What would it look like at your company if your main goal was to earn the loyalty of your employees? My guess is that productivity would increase, engagement would skyrocket, customer service would improve, and turnover would plummet.”

Improve Your Work Engagement Situation

Back to the question of what you can and should do if you are among the 63% of not-too-thrilled employees. You might be stuck in a company whose management gives only lip service to employee engagement, if it does anything at all. Or you could work for one that makes stabs at it but doesn’t consistently put enough muscle behind it to make the effort successful. In those situations, you probably don’t pack enough individual clout to change things there and might need to initiate a selective job search (if you haven’t already started one). However, if you see at least a glimmer of hope that you can help improve the situation, figure out the best way–and most likely effective allies–to tackle that challenge. Just bear in mind that in the same way that “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” your effort will probably need to be persistent and sustained over time. Quick fixes only happen in the movies and on TV!

Tip: If you’re considering a change of employers, be sure to do your due diligence before accepting an offer–preferably even before you submit your resume to the company for consideration. Somewhere in the vast ocean of data available, you might be able to dig up some information that gives you a clue as to the kind of company the target employer is–in other words, how it views and values its employees.

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