When it comes to Employee Engagement, organizations simply cannot adopt a harebrained approach and expect to be successful. As highlighted below, the cost of workforce disengagement in terms of productivity and profitability are not something even the most good-humored leadership can jest about in the boardroom.

This year April Fool’s fell on a Friday, a day that in some organizations means a relaxed dress code, ordering in lunch or maybe even cutting out a little early. While these are all great gestures that certainly have merit, if they (and similar generic ‘benefits’) are your only efforts towards boosting employee engagement….well the jokes on you.

A couple of years ago, Forbes estimated that active disengagement ‘costs the economy $450 billion to $550 billion per year’ in the US alone.

Want to know what piece of the pie your organization contributes to that $550 billion?

The Bottom-line Impact of People Problems in the WorkplaceSome key drivers of these controllable costs include

  • Time wasted by Managers (upwards of 25%) and Employees (approx 7%) on dysfunction, conflict, etc…
  • Absenteeism and sick-days more than double among disengaged workers compared with their engaged counterparts
  • Higher turnover leading to increased replacement costs

I highlighted controllable costs above because the old adage that it is crazy to ‘do the same thing over and over and expect a different result’ is in play here. Repeatedly doing or offering the same thing to all employees is at best seen as a perk, usually deemed the norm and in some cases may be viewed as management agenda.

On the other hand, engagement sky-rockets when people really feel valued, which is driven primarily through the ongoing relationships they have with their boss and colleagues.

In a culture where…

  • …each employee is treated as an individual – engagement sky-rockets
  • …team members are encouraged to ‘get it right’ for each other – engagement sky-rockets
  • …feedback is encouraged and viewed as a two-way partnership – engagement sky-rockets
    …employees talk openly to each other rather than about each other – engagement sky-rockets
  • …staff recognize differing opinions and harness them rather than let it lead to conflict – engagement sky-rockets
  • …people are encouraged to look at the positives they bring and hence their self-esteem is elevated – engagement sky-rockets

1x1-feedbackBy continually identifying the uniqueness and concerns of your team members you can quickly establish areas of needs at the local level (i.e the individual and smaller group of people they work with each day) and work on targeted improvements.

This simple step helps uncover what motivates each employee, recognize individual strengths, gauge levels of stress and explore ways to reduce it, determine how everyone like to be treated to get the best from them…and so much more.

What’s not a joke is that this can easily be done in one-on-one and team meetings with simple, open dialogue or (even better) through fun and interactive activities.

It’s time to put in place an ongoing initiative that proactively develops your people…

…and stop clowning around with annual surveys and other laughable ideas that deliver nothing more than a punchline.