Employee Engagement Is More Than an HR Benefit
Since Gallup began tracking employee engagement in 2000, employee engagement averages haven’t budged. A recent Gallup survey shows that indeed, work could be more fulfilling for most Americans. The percentage of U.S. workers whom Gallup considers “engaged” in their jobs averaged 34.1% in March.
As it stands today, over two-thirds of the American workforce is disengaged at work, and it appears that no amount of HR benefit, wellness programs, or incentives can make a dent in this number.
So how does an organization build a culture of happy, engaged employees?
Instead of searching for the right engagement survey or the right communication tool, an organization must instead focus on making the work itself deeply meaningful to each employee.
An organization must talk less about engagement, and focus more on purpose.
You might be wondering, “How can a for-profit organization offer meaningful work without a cause?” Let me illustrate by using myself as an example:
I feel the greatest sense of purpose when I am able to understand the needs of individuals and design solutions and services for them. I’m not changing the world or disrupting an industry. Even the people who are need something to ground them day-to-day. For me, addressing the needs of people is at the heart of productive, successful work. I thrive when I can generate harmony and progress for everyone.
My job as an account strategist allows me to use these very skills that give me the most satisfaction – empathy, intuition, and perception. I like going to work every day because I’m doing something that’s inherently meaningful to me – establishing personal connections and seeing my efforts come to fruition.
According to Gallup, employees who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged than those who do not.
When we know what motivates us we can then organize our assignments to excite, energize, and fulfill us every day. What could each of us start doing today to create a better sense of purpose and meaning in our day-to-day work?
Purpose comes down to relationships. Strong connections with customers or colleagues give us fulfillment in our work. Even if we are doing the most amazing work, we won’t feel fulfilled at the end of the day if we don’t feel a strong connection to people.
When we stretch ourselves beyond whom we think we are and what we think we are capable of, we feel tremendous satisfaction and purpose. It’s important to seek out opportunities to learn and grow.
It’s the Little Things that Count
What matters are the little things we do every day. When we make a difference for someone else – open a door of opportunity, make something easier, or even elicit a smile – it is incredibly gratifying.
When an organization builds their culture and talent strategy around purpose, employee engagement rises. People are motivated, have greater tenure, and are more likely to promote their company as a good place to work. They’ll show up to work differently. They build meaningful relationships. They work to be challenged and grow professionally. And they work to bring out the best in everyone around them.
An engaged workforce positions your business to grow and sets your brand apart as meaningful. It’s a win-win-win.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.