Did you know that the United States is in the midst of an employee engagement crisis? It’s true. For years, Gallup polling has showed that less than 1 in 3 employees is actually engaged in their job. A 2013 study from the group found that as much as 70 percent of the U.S. workforce wasn’t actively engaged. That’s a monumental problem. But it’s one that has slowly begun to improve.
Recent Gallup tracking showed that the percentage of U.S. workers who could be described as “engaged” at work averaged 34.1 percent in March, the highest level recorded in the five years Gallup has been tracking U.S. workplace engagement daily. The previous high of 33.8 percent was seen in March 2011, followed by 33.6 percent in January 2012.
This is big news. Though employee engagement has been trending upward since 2013, it has only risen above 33 percent three times in Gallup’s history of tracking the metric. March’s uptick and the generally solid polling since September indicate that more organizations are coming around to the benefits of engaged employees.
It’s still too early to know how employee engagement will pan out through the rest of 2016. There’s no question, however, that the year has begun on solid footing. So long as organizations continue to invest in employee engagement and the job market continues its steady recovery, we could see unprecedented levels of engagement.
Why engagement matters
Employers aren’t building on outdated engagement methods just to satisfy current trends. Rather, an increasing number of businesses have realized that engaged employees are as essential a commodity as any other to a successful enterprise. They make businesses more profitable and productive while simultaneously reducing turnover.
And the costs of disengaged employees are too high to just grin and bear it. According the Gallup’s 2013 study, companies with 2.6 engaged employees for every disengaged employee reported earnings 2 percent lower than their competitors. Poor workplace engagement can cost the country between $450 billion and $550 billion every year, Gallup reported.
This disparity between engaged and disengaged employees is, needless to say, monumental. Every organization needs to be committing serious time, resources and energy toward engaging their workers. After all, an engaged employee is also a happy one, and a happy employee is one who will most likely serve your customers best.
On the flip side, it’s difficult to convince someone who isn’t invested in their job to provide outstanding service. It’s hard, if not outright impossible, to get them to stay an extra hour to finish a project or educate themselves on the latest industry trends. And don’t even bother trying to get them to form productive relationships with coworkers or clients. Yet an engaged employee does all of this willingly.
Performance is one of the most important benefits of an engaged workforce. But how can a company go about building a great environment? The process begins with taking a close look at the primary motivators on employee engagement.
What makes engagement strategies work
If you’re looking to build a cohesive, goal-oriented team that’s bought into your company’s mission, you need an effective engagement strategy. That means harnessing motivators for success like connecting the employee’s job to the organization’s goal.
An article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggested that although a team probably knows how to do their jobs, they don’t necessarily know about the far-reaching effects of their actions in other parts of the company. It’s important to communicate an understanding of each employee’s role within the larger company. How does it influence and drive overall goals? Show workers why they matter.
Similarly, it’s essential to seek input from workers and to incorporate their ideas into the leadership’s own. Management needs to learn to ask their employees questions that drive conversation and reveal solutions to problems. Just as importantly, they need to learn to listen to the feedback and cultivate it into the final decision/product.
Enterprise video can play a crucial part in this journey toward effective engagement. As part of your strategy, video hosted by an enterprise content delivery network offers an immediate, actionable and limitless medium for engagement. Want to show a team why their work matters? Broadcast a video of the results of their last project. Involve clients and coworkers in the process. And if you want to prove to employees that their opinions are taken into account, send out a video highlighting the application of their words and ideas.
Employee engagement is too important to ignore. If the U.S. is going to thrive and finally break out of its long-standing engagement crisis, enterprise video is demanded.