What is it that inspires people to “Go the extra mile” for your company, and for you?

There are essentially three types of employees: engaged, non-engaged, and actively disengaged. Below are brief profiles of each type of employee:

  • Engaged employees work with true passion. They feel a deep connection to their company. Engaged employees drive innovation, are extremely productive, and are a driving force for moving the organization forward. The goals of engaged employees are in line with the goals of the company.
  • Non-engaged employees have essentially “clocked out” of their jobs. These people are merely going through the motions, simply putting in their time, without real energy or commitment to the company.
  • Actively disengaged employees are far more than just unhappy; they actively express their unhappiness in their work, perhaps even to the point of sabotaging the company, and other employees.

Since at least the beginning of the industrial revolution, it has been a commonly held belief in business that a steady job and a regular paycheck should be more than enough to provide people the necessary motivation to remain fully committed to their work. However rational this belief may seem, as levels of employee engagement have fallen to abysmally low numbers around the world, the evidence has become increasingly clear that people today want, and seem to need, much more from their employer in exchange for their dedication and commitment to their jobs.

According to Gallup’s most recent State of the Global Workplace, a mere 13% of employees around the world are engaged at work, which is considerably less than the 30% of engaged employees in the US workforce. Yet, considering the long-term outlook and declining trend, with less than one-third of US employees being engaged at work, US businesses still have little to be proud of.

Respect and consideration make the difference in employee engagement

Feeling connected with and genuinely supported by others at work is a powerful driver of employee engagement and loyalty to the company and the team. Being able to enjoy strong bonds with other team members, and especially with supervisors who display respect and empathy for every individual in the organization, goes a very long way toward creating an atmosphere of engaged and committed employees.

Recently I ran into a manager who said, “Why should I have to manage my team? I am self-motivated and feel I have a responsibility to my boss to be engaged. That’s what I expect from my team.” Suffice it to say, there isn’t a long line of people waiting to work for this guy. He did not understand his role as a leader and, as it turned out, he was not all that engaged himself. Leaders engage people. They discover what inspires a person and use that information to create conditions under which they thrive. Sure, some people lack the grit and inner drive to do the job but most employees are in the middle, waiting to be enlivened by the right role and the right leadership.

Almost universally, bosses who are predominantly concerned about their own needs create the lowest levels of employee engagement; while having an authentic advocate for the development and success of others in a leadership position will create an ever growing culture of increased commitment and growing employee engagement.

Is your team fully engaged? Have you put in place a plan designed to increase employee engagement within your organization? What has worked for you to boost engagement among employees?