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The Solution To Workplace Disengagement - Better Leadership & Management

Hand placing wooden block into a 3 x 3 grid labelling characteristics of leadership and management

Gallup's recent report into the 'State of the Global Workplace: 2022' shows that only 21% of employees describe themselves as engaged at work. That means roughly 4/5 employees are not engaged, disengaged or actively disengaged. Furthermore, they estimate that employees who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity.

With such a high proportion of the workforce disconnected, actively tackling this lack of engagement should be a priority for organisations.

First, let me explain what I mean by engaged, not-engaged and actively disengaged employees:

Engaged Employees:

The dream of every HR Director & CEO, engaged employees are highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. They invest time and energy in both their role and the people they work with, and experience enjoyment and satisfaction in return.

Not-engaged Employees:

In contrast, not-engaged employees will show up and do the work, but are psychologically detached from the organisation and won't put any energy or passion into what they do. They'll do the bare minimum to get the job done and are usually actively looking for employment elsewhere.

Actively Disengaged Employees:

Actively disengaged employees are by far the most dangerous. They hate their job and love to spread their misery around, undermining and lowering the enjoyment and productivity of their colleagues. They will come to work and avoid doing their job, using every distraction and procrastination tool in the book, and will happily drag others down with them.

Benefits of Engaged Employees

Organisations who are fortunate to have (or wise enough to actively cultivate) engaged employees experience several benefits, including:

  • Increased productivity - Engaged employees are 44% more productive than happy employees (Gallup).

  • Higher revenue - Companies with engaged employees typically achieve a revenue 2.5 times higher than a similar company with lower engagement.

  • Happier customers - According to Richard Bransen, clients shouldn't come first, employees should; "If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients". Engaged employees build better client relationships and act as advocates for your business.

  • Lower absenteeism - Frequent absences hamper employee productivity and performance, which inevitably impact the company's bottom line.

  • Greater loyalty - With engagement comes emotional attachment and loyalty which leads to greater effort and going the extra mile.

  • Improved retention and cost saving - With loyalty comes lower staff turnover which saves organisations thousands in recruitment and training costs, and the saving from retaining an employee who only puts half the effort in for the same pay check.

  • Better quality of work - When you are engaged in your work and organisation you generally take greater care to perform your role with precision and dedication, making the effort to learn and increase efficiency.

  • Positive culture -When employees enjoy and are engaged at work they experience greater positive emotions and bring energy and drive to the organisation, often inspiring and motivating others.

  • Creativity and innovation - Engagement often brings a drive to be and do your best, encouraging autonomy and creativity to problem solve and improve performance and processes.

As you can see, the case for actively developing employee engagement is sound from both a financial and organisational perspective.

But how can companies improve employee engagement? By improving leadership and management.

How To Increase Engagement By Improving Leadership & Management

A managers primary role should be to increase employee engagement. They should communicate company expectations and values to employees, outline what work needs to be done and how their efforts contribute to the wider company goals and mission, provide support and encouragement, and act as an advocate for personal development and wellbeing.

To do this they need to be highly skilled in listening and communication skills. Every conversation a leader or manager has with an employee has the potential to increase or decrease engagement, so it's crucial they understand how to have impactful coaching conversations.

Unfortunately, few managers have the training and experience to conduct these types of meaningful conversation without it coming across as either micromanagement or disinterest.

Leaders need to ensure managers have access to effective professional development, training tools and resources to enable them to own engagement and coach their teams.

They could start by encouraging leaders and managers to engage in professional coaching and development themselves, to improve their performance and learn from their experience.

This should be followed by a practical workshop on effective communication, coaching conversations & techniques, and the development of an action plan to put new knowledge in place.

Keystone Coaching provides professional, evidence-led leadership training and executive coaching to help leaders and managers develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours to create a substantial improvement employee engagement.

Get in touch to book a free 20 minute consultation and let us help you unlock your organisation's potential.


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Increased feelings of belonging can lead to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk and a 75% drop in sick days. You can see why organisations are now looking to improve employee belonging.

The ripple effect of leadership can be positive or negative. Leaders are pivotal in making sure health & wellbeing practices are underpinned by high quality research-driven methods and are fully embedded in everyday people management practices.

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