— April 26, 2019
Did you know that 51 percent of employees are not engaged at work and an additional 16 percent feel “actively disengaged” according to a recent article from CBS News. That essentially means more than half of the American workforce finds no real purpose in their work and likely do the bare minimum to get through the day. And that additional 16 percent who resent their jobs could be griping to their colleagues and bringing down office morale.
When looking to improve engagement, I always recommend starting with the “why” to get a greater understanding of your employees’ motivators. The “why” is oftentimes more important than the “what” when leading a business. Simon Sinek does a great job discussing this human need in his book, Start with Why. I highly recommend reading it.
Creating a Mission Statement and Sticking to It
Having employees who know and understand the company’s purpose and work collectively together towards common goals will provide a boost to engagement. This includes understanding how the company’s mission statement and goals apply internally, with clients, and the community at large.
One way to do this is to look at shared organizational goals and find unique ways to engage employees in those goals. For instance, my company, Assurance, has a ‘Shared Success’ program in place – a unique form of profit sharing which unites workers of all levels to achieve goals, both financial and cultural. Each year, 3-4 goals are selected which are shared and serve as the basis of the program. Typically, two goals are based on the successful achievement of new business and total revenue. The other goal(s) are primarily based on other strategic or cultural objectives, such as participation in wellness programs, or the number of handwritten thank you notes sent to clients. The idea is to provide employees financial incentives for which everyone shares in the outcome of accomplishing key company goals.
We set a goal within our Shared Success program to get over 90 percent of employees to complete a selfie video discussing how their particular role applies to the concept of minimizing risk and maximizing health – our company’s tagline. Accomplishing this goal would rally the organization around the new tagline, establish the ‘why’ factor, give employees a shared sense of purpose and help each person understand how their individual contributions make a difference in the growth of the organization.
As you can imagine some employees got very creative. Selfie videos came in from ski lifts, basements, patios, remote offices…you name it. Each person discussing how their role tied into the company’s tagline. With permission, some of those videos were shared internally and then clips were collectively put together for one longer video. That video was played at the company annual meeting. At the end of the year, all employees – whether they submitted a video or not – received a small bonus for exceeding the Shared Success goal.
So, what was a very minimal cost to the organization paid dividends in more engaged employees working with a purpose. If you are feeling a lack of engagement in your organization, start with the ‘why’ and then find initiatives that rally around creating a sense of purpose.