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Employee engagement, from showing up to going the extra mile

It turns out there’s a big difference between an employee who merely shows up to work and one who is truly committed and willing to go that extra mile. The good news from studies by Gallup and others about employee engagement have shown that the willingness of employees to go the extra mile can translate to huge benefits for the organization. These benefits show up in increased productivity, customer satisfaction and employee retention, to name a few. The bad news is that repeated surveys have shown that only about a third of employees feel truly engaged at work – a glaring issue for organizations, especially in challenging times.

In my experience of 25 years as a career and executive coach, and corroborated by the research, it’s clear who plays the most important role in employee engagement. By far the most important determinant of employee engagement at work is the personality and style of the manager.

So, what are the drivers of employee engagement? How can managers engage the best efforts of their people?

It turns out that the answers are pretty basic – grounded in an understanding of human nature and what we all need to feel fulfilled. They are things like knowing what’s expected of us, feeling understood and appreciated for what we do and liking and respecting the people we work with. Having a trusting relationship with our manager is huge – and feeling that he or she genuinely cares about us, is interested in our development and wants us to succeed.

Employees who answer yes to most of questions below are the ones having these needs met. Those employees are likely to be 20% to 30% more productive at work, happier, and more inclined to stay with their organizations.

So, if you’re a manager and want to find out how well you engage your people, get them to fill out this employee engagement quiz.

  • I know what it expected of me, and see the connection between what I do and the company’s goals.
  • I take pride in my organization and feel that what I do is worthwhile.
  • I trust my manager and feel he/she genuinely cares about me.
  • I like and respect the people I work with.
  • I have challenging work that engages my interests and talents.
  • I feel appreciated; I receive praise and recognition for a job well done.
  • I know where I stand; I have clear performance goals and receive regular feedback on my progress and not just at review time
  • I receive support and encouragement to be continually learning and developing in my skills and my career.

How did you do? Where did you fall short? How can you turn things around?

Insight to Action provides leadership coaching to help leaders at all levels improve their employee engagement skills.

You can learn more about employee engagement from my Twitter feed, @ElaineSigurdson, where I share helpful, top quality content. I read all the articles I tweet and comment on some weekly on my LinkedIn profile.

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