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Being at Work…Better than Before

What’s YOUR better than before, leaders? Let’s explore employee engagement.

According to Gallup research, only 35% of employees worldwide are engaged.
Why? We have spent so much money in the fields of human resources and learning and development in the last 25 years and yet engagement is not forthcoming.

How did we arrive at this dissatisfaction in the workplace? I believe it is because the lens of perception is turned around.

Companies are focusing on the job description, the role, performance, KPIs, annual goals, and the team as a whole. Let’s explore the whats and hows and move into where the lens must point to shift out of 35% engagement, an F in anyone’s book.

What does an engaged employee look like? How do companies know when employees are engaged? What's the problem and how do we fix it?

question mark

What's makes an engaged employee? Here are four key areas.

  1. They are not daunted by challenges. They're invigorated. They are proactive and they go right after the project, launch, merger, transition, etc. My sales director years ago heard my angst around the lack of Champagne sales and how it was our most profitable box we sold. She and her management team created Champagne Campaign and within 2 years, with the VC Yellow Label, we increased our sales by 245%. Eventually, we hired a Champagne Ambassador, all off of meager sales, lack of leaders in the category, and a team ready to be educated on every nuance of soil, climate, clone, basket press, tirage, and much more. Undaunted. Highly successful.
  2. They choose to be engaged. They're not looking for anyone to invite them,
    they're ready to go. Choice is a favorite concept here at inviteCHANGE and being at choice wherever you go as an engaged employee has powerful ramifications. You are more likely to receive the top projects, access to resources, and mentorship that eases the learning process, even if/when the engaged employee tailors it to their own strengths.
  3. They bring their peak performance and find ways to support and build that peak performance. I once had a high potential employee who wanted to stay engaged and employed with us. She had increased her sales route by +30% and was starting to be “bored”. I asked her what was capturing her attention in the marketplace and it was video. As an organization, we were not in the game across teams. She liked the direction our team was headed at leaders but wanted to amplify and gain knowledge around delivery instead of using outside vendors. Done. She stayed, video for the teams became de rigueur and the quality was elevated as was the impact on sales.
  4. They are accountable for their performance. They don't look to blame other people; they're very accountable for what they bring to the team and their successes are never singular. They are inclusive and specific in giving praise to the people who contributed. When things fail, they don’t spread it in the same way. They own it. Privately they may work diligently with the team to uncover the “What worked? What didn’t? and What will we do differently next time?”

How do companies know if their employees are engaged or not? There are research companies that tailor and create surveys for organizations around the world. Perhaps you've conducted an engagement survey recently. Were you pleased, or do you know the enterprise could do better?

What's the problem and how do we solve it? The problem is that over 70% of employee engagement and performance are impacted by managers. There are more managers who create destructive or less than positive work environments. Sadly, most of this is not intentional.

As our CEO Janet M. Harvey says, “No manager wakes up in the morning and says ‘Let me go and create a horrible, mismanaged day at the office’ or now ‘on Zoom’.

Yet, it happens. Day after day in organizations around the globe managers create a negative influence that impacts results, morale, and customer service.

Since we know only 35% of employees are highly engaged, we need more managers to be creative, positive and empowering managers. Are you ready to create higher engagement from your employees, managers, and leaders?

Leaders talking in the office

Here are three tips for up-leveling your mindset, attitude, beliefs, and thus, your leadership.

Tip #1: Get a coach.

Curiosity, authenticity, trust, and self-awareness await
you to awaken, develop and deliver to your team. They are thirsty for you to be excellent. Most leaders think that they're already self-aware, and yet less than 20% are. I recently was coaching a sales executive who was exploring and accessing his self-awareness. He had done a 360 called the Tilt 365 Positive Influence Predictor. He had asked his team to weigh in anonymously with their observations and insights. He wanted to increase his employee engagement. What he found out was that by micromanaging, damage-controlling, and directing the activities, he was not getting employee engagement and they were delivering the bare minimum, which led to below-par sales results. Through coaching, he learned how to bring his curiosity, deepen his listening, and create positive, empowering relationships with his employees.

What resulted from this leader’s choice to grow? The team had their best sales year ever, and those employees experienced a manager who cared about them, their families, their future which ignited their innovation, independence, and institutional capacity grew. Turns out, that relationship eclipses transactions.

Tip #2: Be a coach or coach-like.

Coaches champion the best in their employees. They encourage them to “go for it” and give them the opportunity to collaborate and to bring their unique perspective and contribution to the project. According to SalesForce Research employees who are listened to bring 4.6 times their best work forward
when their manager trusts them. Coach-like skills of curiosity on their behalf,
brings forward their ideation, solutions, and innovation. Innovation is the backbone of organizations for results, growth, and profits.

Tip #3: Have a social progress agenda.

Over 70% of Gen Z and 60% of Millennials said that when they apply to an organization, they look at where the organization is putting their money for social causes, including the time and talent donations, and team activities in the community. This is only going to grow in the next few decades. According to Forbes, Inc., it's actually good business. Being a positive force in the world means you and the organization are living by your core values.

What does that mean for employee engagement? It means that trust and authenticity are in place by senior management, not merely empty words on the website or lobby LED. What else? Your employees can love their life's work working for you.

The number one quality in great leaders is self-awareness. Check out my YouTube video on how to become a self-aware leader so you can be a positive, creative force in the organization and have greater employee engagement.

Start your journey to be at work... better than before!

Sarah Graves, PCC

Sarah passionately and practically pursues the development of leaders through intentional, organic growth. She emboldens leaders to create an environment where management is expansive, willing to move with agility beyond comfort zones, and to champion the individual and collective genius within the organization. With teams in transition she inspires connection, realignment and forward progress within the awkward movements of the changing landscape. Her belief is that coaching is as essential an element for an organization as the product or service the company produces. “An employee who grows personally, grows professionally” and coaching seeds growth.
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