The human side of Employee Engagement

When employees feel ignored employee engagement tends to be lower

As employees we are far more likely to be engaged at work when we feel our  basic needs are being met (Gallup). We all want to feel we know what it is expected of us at work; we want to have the support, materials and equipment to do our job right; feel we are valued; and have opportunities to do what we do best every day. The most important element of Employee engagement comes from the human component of work. Business is about relationships. In order to produce results we need to be aware of the needs and drivers of those with whom we interact.

At least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units is as a direct result of the relationship between manager and employee. 

Great managers can be the key to unlocking high performance and engaging employees by meeting their human needs (Recognition, belonging, clarity, growth). A key component of great management is focusing on what employees do well – their strengths. In fact the research by Gallup has shown it is more cost effective and drive greater results to improve strengths than to fix weaknesses. When employees use their strengths each day as part of their work they are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs than those who don’t (Gallup).  Additionally, teams that focus on strengths each day have 12.5% higher productivity when compared with teams with managers who tend to fixate on improving their weaknesses.

The human side of Employee Engagement

Teams led by managers who focus on employee weaknesses are 26% less likely to be engaged than teams with managers who focus on their strengths (Gallup). Worse than this though is a manager who tends to ignore team members achievements.  In teams where managers ignore their employees, or only pay attention when there is a problem, engagement plummets to 2%. Whereas in teams where managers focus on strengths engagement levels tend to be above 60%. Ignoring people’s strengths and value is one of the worst things a manager can do.

Basic human needs that increase employee engagement include clear expectations, feedback and a sense of belonging. The human side of Employee Engagement

Research by Gallup suggests that clear expectations are the foundation of an engaged high performance team. Team members need more than a job description. Clarity of expectations is vital to performance. Great managers not only set clear expectations but also acknowledge team member’s strengths and help them with their development. The impact the manager has on engagement is one of the most fundamentally important insights Gallup’s research has uncovered. Employees thrive when they have a manager who cares, who motivates team members, helps them overcomes obstacles, creates a culture of accountability, and builds trust in relationships.

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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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