Tackling the employee engagement crisis

We are experiencing an employee engagement crisis: only 13 percent of employees globally are engaged at work, while the rest are either neutral or, worse, actively disengaged. Despite an overall increase in budget toward improving this, many organizations are still having limited success in increasing employee engagement.

With a troubling overall lack of engagement and its negative impact on workforce productivity, it’s important to ask “Who in the organization is responsible for creating an engaging culture?” In a recent webcast sponsored by OpenSesame, The Conference Board analyst Amanda Popiela discusses how engagement is no longer the responsibility of the management level anymore, but a combination of leadership, managerial and employees together to create a culture of engagement.

What are employees looking for from their leaders?

Leaders at all levels have a critical role to play in creating an engaging environment at the organizational level. Employee focus groups by The Conference Board identified that employees are looking for the following from company leadership:

    • A strong sense of meaning and direction from leaders

    • Seeking out employees opinions

    • Listening to new perspectives

    • Allowing employees to make mistakes

    • Coaching teams through execution of new ideas.

Corporate engagement programs should also be created and communicated at the leadership level to engage employees through continuing education, onboarding, and training opportunities.

The manager’s role

Managers acknowledge they have a role to play in helping employees take personal responsibility for engagement. According to The DNA of Engagement report by The Conference Board, managers believe their most important thing they can do are as follows:

    • 65% of managers believe building trust is the most important thing they can do to retain employees’ engagement level

    • 48% report their role is empowering their team

    • 39% say that fostering collaboration within their team is top priority.

Managers can take specific actions to help better engage employees, such as sharing the big picture to connect employee’s work to organization’s purpose, recognize employees for their value, and communicate regularly about career goals.

The missing piece: the employees themselves

While leaders and managers have are significant in creating and maintaining a culture of engagement, we cannot underestimate the power of the employee taking personal responsibility for their own engagement. 95% of employees are aware when they begin to feel disengaged, and when disengaged, one in four employees do not actively take steps to re-engage themselves at work.

To stay engaged with their workforce, employees should regularly communicate career needs and challenges to management and leadership. Engaged employees have a positive outlook, take on new opportunities and seek new challenges, and believe it is their role and responsibility to shape the culture and workplace environment.

The bigger picture

Everyone has a role to play in building an engaged workforce. Leaders engage the workforce through corporate programs, communication of expectations, and serving as role models. Managers support employees in taking responsibility for their own engagement, create engaging teams, and serve as a trusted mentor. And employees can provide feedback through managers, and take steps to re-engage when feeling disengaged.

To learn more about the responsibility of employee engagement, watch the webinar recording from The Conference Board here.