Employee desires have evolved. As a result, companies are struggling to keep up with demands. Employee engagement makes a huge difference in both team and company performance. Executives seek results and internal productivity which occurs as a byproduct of employee engagement; however, employees are increasingly searching for purpose and fulfillment which presents a challenge to executives. Competitive pay and decent benefits are no longer enough -- today, companies must understand what their employees truly want from the company.
There are two kinds of workers; satisfied workers and engaged workers. The difference between the two is that satisfied workers lack passion and are less likely to put in extra work as if they were engaged in their work. Engaged employees are dedicated to the company’s mission and therefore, work to serve the overall vision of the company.
Gallup’s recent study, The State of the American Workforce, revealed that 21% of the U.S. workforce reported that they were motivated to exceed benchmarks and deliver outstanding performances in the workplace. The study also revealed that 33% of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work. It is evident that there is a disconnect between employees and companies.
While preparing and welcoming a new generation into the workforce, millennials are disrupting standard hiring procedures and employee protocol. The new generation is seeking meaningful work and values role alignment and learning opportunities. These evolving expectations reveal a gap between organizations and employees and present opportunity for disengagement. These new expectations have yet to be implemented in company business models; however, incorporating these values is likely to increase engagement.
Successfully applying changes to standard business procedures requires performance management. Such practices have been proven to improve internal outcomes and contribute to employee engagement. This includes valuing employees and their insights, providing employees with consistent and valuable feedback, giving employees recognition for their work, providing employees with helpful resources, etc. This can be achieved by leaders and applied by using emotional intelligence practices to improve the emotional climate and engage employees.
The best skill to use when engaging employees is empathy. This means executives and middle managers need to have the ability to apply this skill. Adding value and purpose to an employee goes a long way beyond salary and task completion. Employees desire to be treated as human beings and be given flexibility to be creative. Empathy gives employees a sense of worth and purpose which helps better connect employees with the company.
Meaningful engagement generates positive feelings that fuel innovation and adaptation to make for an inspired work culture working to remain ahead of the curve and on top in their industry. The root of engagement stems from human connection. Creating an engaged, shared vision allows for performance to soar.