The Benefit of Engaging The Whole Person: Behavioral Engagement

December 17, 2015

 

It’s the holiday season, and again my wife has waited until the end of the year to attempt to use the bulk of her vacation days that she’s not taken throughout the year.  While I sat at my desk pecking away at the keyboard I noticed she was on her work laptop.  “Aren’t you on vacation today?” I asked. “Yes.” She replied.  “I’m just getting this one thing done.  Then I’ll log off.”  She chirped.  I continued to work for quite some time before looking up again; as did she.

 

Employee engagement is a critical consideration for companies that want to perform at the highest possible levels. Employees that are engaged provide many benefits to their employers: improved customer service, enhanced productivity, and lower employee turnover.  As I’ve written in other articles, numbers from global research and consulting firm Gallup indicate that over two-thirds of American workers are disengaged,

 

Discretionary Effort

 

Do your employees stay late to get work done without being asked?   Will they log on or come into the office over the weekend to get caught up or even ahead for the following week?  These are good examples of discretionary effort.  Discretionary effort is a display of behavioral engagement and is seen when an employee goes the extra mile, puts in extra effort to get their job done. 

 

Remember though, engagement is not simply measured by the hours that someone puts in. An engaged employee is also more likely to think outside of the box and take a creative approach to their work.  They may use skills that they don’t usually draw upon in their daily role to help the company in unique ways. Engaged employees are also more likely to collaborate with their team members and let others share in the spotlight when projects are successful.  When an employee loves what she does, going the extra mile is business as usual.

 

Why Employee Engagement Is Vital

 

You probably have an intrinsic understanding of why it is so important to have engaged employees, but you may not know that extensive research has been done to collect data about the importance of engagement. This research has lead to the publication of some very telling statistics that use hard numbers to show just how important employee engagement is. According to numbers compiled by Office Vibe:

 

  • Companies with engaged employees have 2.5 times more revenue than organizations with low engagement levels

  • Organizations with highly engaged employees achieve double the annual net income when compared to organizations with employees that are behind on engagement

  • According to the Harvard Business Review, Sears reported that a 5% increase in employee attitudes lead to a 1.3% improvement in customer satisfaction, causing a 0.5% increase in revenue

 

What kind of business wouldn’t want more revenue and happier customers? The benefits of improving your employee engagement will have a direct impact on the core goals of your company.   You will reap very valuable benefits from more engaged employees. The biggest challenge for employee engagement, however, is in engaging today’s employees the right way.  

 

The Whole Employee and Organizational Goals

 

Even if you understand how to engage employees, you may be unsure about where to begin when it comes to matching their passions to company goals. Personal development programs are a great way to accomplish this task. Research by the British Institute for Employment Studies showed that employees with a personal development plan that have received a formal appraisal in the past year have much higher levels of engagement than those who do not. Personal development plans also help satisfy a critical component of workplace engagement for employees: input on their job responsibilities. As many studies have found, autonomy drives engagement.  The more say that an employee has in their workplace tasks, the more likely it is that they will be engaged and emotionally connected to these tasks and go the extra mile to get them done.

 

Employee development plans are also important when considering how to engage employees because they are tailored to the individual needs of the people. that work at your organization. Everyone at your company is different: the millennial fresh out of college has vastly different interests and passions than the baby boomer with grandchildren that is only a few years from retirement. What engages one of these employees may be off-putting to the other. Adopting a one-size fits all approach may be a recipe for failure and resentment.

 

A Better Way To Boost Engagement

 

What escapes many business owners and leaders is the secret to improving employee engagement is aligning the mission and vision of the organization with as a whole to the interests, passion and purpose of individual employees; the whole individual, professional and personal.

 

Pizza lunches and ice cream bars are nice and may in fact make your employees happy momentarily.  However, iInstead of trying to take a homogeneous approach when considering how to engage employees, companies would be much better served by creating implementing plans tailored to the particular capabilities and interests  and personalities of your employees. Not only is this a much more effective way to make employees feel more connected with the goals and mission of the company.  It has the added benefit of showing team members that you are engaged, committed and care about them individually, the whole person, both personally and professionally.

 

Workers in every office in every field face challenges on a daily basis. How they address these challenges and what they think about them depends on a few factors.  One of the primary elements is their level of engagement. When an employee can tie their own passions and personal motivations to the overarching goals of the business they are working for, they will be much less likely to leave the company. High engagement levels correspond with high levels of productivity, which is beneficial for everyone. To get started on your journey to improve revenues and customer satisfaction by boosting your employee engagement, look for a wayways to create personalized programs that remind your employees every day of how what they do is integral to the success and prosperity of the entire company.

 

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