According to a recent study from The Conference Board of Canada (2016) only 27 per cent of employees are highly engaged. The report, Employee Engagement: Leveraging the Science to Inspire Great Performance, revealed that the most influential factor driving employee engagement is confidence in senior leadership. Furthermore, relationships with managers are the second most influential driver for engagement levels.
Clearly, dissatisfaction with organizational leadership is having a tremendous impact on workplace engagement. This is a significant issue in today’s workplaces. Obviously, the financial implications of this alone are substantial. However, for those of us in healthcare we know that low engagement or disengagement results in the potential for increased error rates, decreased patient and family satisfaction, and most importantly, diminished quality of care.
Additionally, many healthcare leaders come from clinical backgrounds and have not had the opportunity to learn best practices to engage and influence their employees. Leaders don’t have the tools they need to be successful in supporting engagement. This results in frustration for the leaders as well as the employees. There is a mismatch between leaders and employees’ expectations of each other, which affects trust, morale, and productivity.
Invariably, leaders turn to massive organizational development and employee engagement strategies and campaigns to remedy this. These campaigns are often complex and difficult to implement, and ultimately do not address the relationships between leaders and employees that are instrumental for creating the right connections for an engaged work place culture.
What’s the answer?
While there is no cure-all to this predicament, there are simple and powerful leadership practices that will make a remarkable difference for your ability to engage. It’s a different approach to engagement.
Employee engagement needs to be personal. Each person is unique, with differing aspirations, commitments, strengths, ways of working, and potential. Ask yourself, how well do you know your employees? Do you know what is important to each of your employees?
Leveraging these insights engages your employees in a way that meaningfully connects for the person. It’s about adapting your engagement approach depending on each employee’s performance, motivations, and goals. Communicating expectations, feedback, and giving acknowledgement will more likely resonate and inspire each individual. Everyday a leader has an opportunity to support and value their employees. It starts by recognizing that engagement has to be personal.
We believe that engaging with employees is a fundamental leadership skill. We are pleased to share with you that we will be launching a new training program in the coming weeks for you to learn fresh and more effective strategies and behaviours to engage and influence your employees. Stay tuned for the official announcement!