According to the latest Gallup Poll only about 33% of the employees are “actively engaged” on average at companies in the United States. For those in management positions who keep their fingers on the pulse of their workforce this is not surprising, for others it may come as a shock – but for the last couple of decades more and more companies have had a vested interest in understanding their employees’ attitude and how they felt about their job and the company they worked for.
In my experience – after spending 20 years in corporate America – those firms that attempted to poll their employees, created never-ending surveys that always left me wondering how the collected data would ever be analyzed, and what actionable information did they really find in these data sets.
Also, it’s been shown that the old ways of running a company – annual reviews, rankings, etc. – don’t get the intended results, yet almost without exceptions, all businesses that I have worked for ran their companies based on this model. Management needs more insights into employees’ needs and figure out how to inspire them more successfully.
Major consulting firms, such as Gallup, have long studied employee performance and researched what aspects of a successful workplace predicted best business outcomes (such as profitability, productivity, employee turnover, etc.) and Gallup ultimately came up with the Gallup Q12 “employee engagement index”.
It turned out that businesses with high Q12 scores performed better that those with lower scores on such metrics as revenue, profitability, productivity, customer experience, safety, healthcare costs, etc. Over time, other consulting firms came up with employee engagement metrics too, and the “employee engagement movement” gathered strength. Companies of all sizes in almost every major global economy added an employee engagement initiative.
Despite all this, “engaged” employee numbers in the US remained the same since Gallup started measuring them in 2000 – however, some organizations made tremendous progress, but regardless of the success stories very little changed overall.
According to Larry Emond, a Managing Partner for Gallup, there are two major reasons for the lack of progress:
1. An employee engagement program needs to be a manager education and development initiative, not a measurement initiative — but many are really just the latter.
2. Companies are not nearly selective enough about whom they name as their managers, at every level.
Mr. Emond concludes that “Employee engagement programs haven’t worked at many companies because they haven’t been done right or implemented thoroughly” and “Measurement alone does not make a movement. More carefully choosing managers, and then providing those managers with the learning and tools to psychologically engage their teams, makes a movement.”
My questions is: Why do we assume that managers, however carefully screened, have the innate ability to appropriately implement, use and teach the tools they learn through management training? I had only 2 managers that went through management training and were able to make a difference once they implemented what they learned.
So let’s go one step further – and this is where our Company Culture Improvement Program (CCIP) is different from traditional engagement programs: We want to teach the appropriate tools, skills and practices to all employees from the ground up. We work with leadership and employees to identify areas in company cultures that need improvement and we custom design a Program that will engage everyone, while systematically measuring the change in Company Culture.
However, for the success of this bottom-up approach, we do require a top-down support from leadership, as that is the key to real success. Any program created for the sake of just having an engagement program will never work!
If you want to hear more and just want to have a conversation about this: