Cultivating employees’ personal and team growth aligns training with your company’s performance objectives.
As business assets go, “employee engagement” can seem difficult to pin down. But even if we can’t define the precise characteristics of employee engagement, we can quantify the impact and cost of disengagement—and the picture isn’t pretty. The 2015 edition of Gallup’s annual survey on the subject found that just 32 percent of employees were engaged; 50.8 percent were “not engaged;” and 17.2 percent were “actively disengaged.” As a leader, you can improve those metrics by motivating your team members, cultivating their skills, and leading them to stronger individual achievement and overall company results. The keys include:
- Fostering accountability and trust. As a leader, this means honoring your commitments, not throwing people off guard or putting them on the defensive when priorities shift, and exhibiting consistent authenticity in your actions.
- Training your team. Among your most important jobs is helping employees achieve continued professional development and growth. Whether you’re implementing formal or informal mentoring programs, setting up a cross-training system, or balancing personal and industry-specific skills growth, training creates an opportunity to strengthen employees’ expertise and their feeling of connection to the company.
- Empowering the team. It’s a balancing act: You need to trust that employees will act in the best interest of the organization, but you still have to set general guidelines for performance and support employees as they carry out their work.
Why does it matter? Higher rates of employee engagement correlate to lower absenteeism, turnover, shrinkage, safety incidents, and product defects—and on the positive side, to stronger customer metrics, increased productivity, and greater profitability.
Read the second in our series of Connections to Growth: Team guides, Tactics and Tech That Engage Your Team, to learn how being a true servant leader is key to reaching your objectives.