Employee engagement: It’s time to bust some myths

Amy Jordan

Amy Jordan

Employee engagement — it’s a buzzword that seems to be on the rise lately. But what is it, and why should you care?

By one estimate, only 33 percent of employees are engaged in their work, costing their companies between $450 billion and $550 billion each year. These costs can be seen in increased absenteeism, turnover and work-related injuries as well as decreased productivity, customer service, and sales.

Engagement is important. What’s even more important is that you walk into the complex arena of employee engagement with your eyes wide open and avoid these four engagement myths:

Myth No. 1: Employees will become more engaged if they receive more money. Would you suddenly love your job more if you made more money? Probably not. It’s true that before you can move the needle on engagement, employees must make enough to meet their basic needs. Once that’s achieved, additional money might spark a better attitude in the short term, but won’t engage a person more in the long run. It’s important for supervisors and managers to understand engagement involves more than a pay raise. Meaningful work is the key. Everyone wants to feel connected to the mission and understand how their work contributes to the greater good. Help employees understand why their work is important. Solidify your vision and share it.

Myth No. 2: Employee recognition programs are ineffective and do little to engage or retain employees. Recognition constitutes a founding principle in the efforts of engagement. No matter the job, people always respond to appreciation, respect and a simple thank you. Take a marriage, for example: If your spouse told you once or twice a year how much they love and appreciate you, would you be engaged in your relationship? Most likely not. While a manager-staff relationship is far from a marriage, it takes good ongoing communication and appreciation to assure success.

Myth No. 3: The firm is successful, and that success will retain engaged employees. While this might help to attract employees, it’s essential to focus on creating an engaging experience in which employees feel heard, seen and valued. Have you ever heard a person say: “I left the company because the product we made was not the best in the market.” Most have heard this, however: “I left the company because my boss was a real jerk.” And there’s this: “I left the company because the company culture was terrible and no one was a team player.” While past success is something to brag about, it’s important to spend energy on what’s going to help you succeed in the future — great leadership and great culture.

Myth No. 4: Millennials are difficult to engage. There’s been so much skepticism circulating about millennials, but they’re like all the generations to come before them. It is easy for managers to place blame on influencers they can’t control. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota Labovitz School of  Business and Economics revealed seven significant similarities in the values held by current generations in the workplace: teamwork, flexibility in work scheduling, work-life balance, challenging work, training and development opportunities, involvement in the decision making process when it affects them and recognition for the work they do. To increase engagement, capitalize on the shared values of the generations in the workplace and stop emphasizing the differences.

Many companies fall short in their endeavors to create an engaged culture by just trying to make employees happy. Happiness is only one piece of the puzzle. Highlighting engagement as a business strategy is essential to placing the importance in clear focus and driving the ultimate employee experience.

About
Amy Jordan, a senior professional in human resources and certified compliance and ethics professional, serves as human resources director for a nonprofit organization based in Grand Junction. She’s also a member of the board of the Western Colorado Human Resource Association. For additional information about the WCHRA, log on to www.WCHRA.org.
Read More Articles by

Short URL: https://thebusinesstimes.com/?p=24714

Posted by on Jul 25 2018. Filed under Contributors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Post Your Thoughts Below

  • Rishiman Chandwani

    I believe people platforms are ready to grow beyond traditional HRMS and HRIS. The refresh cycle for HR platforms is currently on. New platforms bring the power of the latest technology, are cloud hosted, simple to use and onboard and much more richer in features and functionality. They also incorporate machine learning technologies and features that appeal to millennials. We have also been building such a platform with peopleHum http://www.peopleHum.com/#bl. 600 organizations have already signed up for free. All we are requesting you is to sign up and use it for free and provide us your feedback and impressions.

  • anagha

    Wanted to compliment you on a very well written piece. Am also very interested and we have built a unique platform that caters to this and a lot more. It actually connects the whole people chain and is designed for the future of work. Would be wonderful if I can invite you to check it out. Of course it’s free and the concept around it is Hire Right, Engage Right and Nurture right – go to http://www.peoplehum.com/#bl. Would be wonderful receiving feedback from someone like you.

  • Jason Currim

    Great article Amy. It’s encouraging to see that HR professionals are understanding and advocating the transformational power of engagement and having an engaged workforce. I also strongly agree with all of those myths, numbers 1 and 4 are (unfortunately) particularly prevalent. A further myth I have came across is that employees don’t care about engagement but I’ve found this to not actually be true. Dr Jim Harter, Chief Scientisit of Workplace Management and Wellbeing at Gallup has cited “Most people come to work well intentioned and only turn sour when their basic needs aren’t being met.”

Sponsor

Past Articles

The Business Times Newspaper . 609 North Avenue Suite #2 . Grand Junction, CO 81501 . 970-424-5133
Log in