The Employee Engagement Game: Will you Win or Lose?

Employee engagement at work is one of the most important determining factors in overall health of an organization.

This is Part One | Here is
Part Two

People who are actively and positively engaged with the work they do get better overall results, cost less to the organization, and make the work environment a more attractive place to be. On the other hand, disengaged employees cost organizations money, cause much higher turnover figures, and make the work environment unpleasant for everyone around.

So what do we do?

Organizational Health Check

So, if employee engagement is so import to organizational health, let’s take a quick check and see how things are going in organizations today. The Conference Board reports that in 2009 only 45% of employees indicated they were engaged in their work. A recent Gallop Poll suggested the number was really a lot lower! This is not good for companies and organizations who want to keep their top people.

The numbers show that many people are simply lying low and waiting for the economic engines to start to roar again so that they can jump ship to another employer at their first opportunity. This not a healthy report for firms who want to leverage their strengths when the economy gets going. So this begs the question:

What can we do to keep talented people when the economy improves?


Get the Facts

The first step in figuring out how to keep the best and brightest people on board is to understand the present condition.


Let’s look at some research facts to find out what employees are saying and then let’s discuss what you can do about it in your organization. These three recent surveys asked what was important for job satisfaction and/or engagement: Society for Human Resource Management Randstad
Good Relationships with Co-Workers Professional Development Opportunities Trust – by both managers and co-workers.
Job Security Relationship with Manager and Flexibility
Flexibility: Desirable Commute and Desirable Hours Flexibility Support with career growth and the desire to grow with the company.

So take a look at the three columns. (Each column heading has a link to the survey for more details.)

So, can you discern the patterns? Can you see what employees really want to make them feel like working for you? But just seeing and understanding this data often times doesn’t make the remedy appear. Times are tight! It is certainly a challenge during an economic downturn to invest in your employees. But unless you do, you may lose them as soon as the job market loosens up.

Here’s interesting data:

Approximately 65% of employees admitted to passively or actively looking for a new job, compared to employers’ estimate of 37%. Employers overestimate the degree of extremely satisfied employees nearly 2 to 1. Furthermore, this research found that Millennials report the lowest job satisfaction scores.

Can you afford to lose your young talent?


Understand the Impact


Remember, if you lose valuable talent the consequences are costly:

  • It costs between 150%-200% of a person’s salary to replace an employee.
  • Institutional knowledge walks out the door.
  • The manager and team spend time away from productive work to integrate the new employee.
  • If a respected employee leaves, it may cause others to consider leaving as well. The brain drain may begin.
  • It is common that the most talented and marketable employees leave. You lose your high potential employees.

Can you risk having them work for the competition?


Provide the Cure


Here are three concrete strategies you can carry out to engage or re-engage your workforce:


Conduct leadership training and leadership coaching to increase the capacity of your managers so they support their staff more effectively. The capability of your leaders is the primary link to employee engagement. Employee engagement is the key factor to achieving your business results. Hold leaders accountable for increasing employee engagement.


Ask your employees what is important to them. Conduct employee climate surveys or hold focus groups or open forums that allow for two-way communication.


Engage in team building opportunities. This does not have to be trust falls and rope courses. Make time to engage staff in problem solving difficult business challenges. Help your team learn more about the personal work preferences of each team member so they can work more effectively together. If you have a virtual team, don’t wait until the budget might allow for a face-to-face meeting. Learn how to build cohesive, high performing virtual teams.


Act Now

Now is the time to explore how you can increase employee engagement, leadership ability, and team performance.

What is your company doing NOW to avoid the brain drain when the economy improves? What do you need to persuade senior managers to invest in retention strategies? Are your programs and policies meeting the needs of employees across the generations: Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and Seniors?

This is Part One | Here is
Part Two

Bookmark The Employee Engagement Game: Will you Win or Lose?

Barb Miller is President of Artemis Management Consultants
She specializes in executive coaching, leadership & team development

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3 responses to “The Employee Engagement Game: Will you Win or Lose?

  1. Employee engagement is crucial to an organization. As mentioned, there are many benefits to it. An environment of trust is conducive to employee engagement. An open conversation between the management and employees should be encouraged to foster trust. This will benefit the company in good times and bad. A culture of trust should be created by pushing the envelope of transparency in communication and information sharing. Organizations today need to implement the policy of Employees first, Customers second. By doing this employees will feel empowered and customers will eventually benefit from it. This unconventional idea was put forth by Vineet Nayar of HCL Technologies.


  2. Kavita
    Yes, TRUST is essential. There is interesting research that says that for every 1 percentage employee satisfaction increases, customer satisfaction will increase by 5%. This data is pretty compelling to support your premise that focusing on engaging your employees will have a tremendous impact on delighting your customers. This makes sense intuitively but there is now data to support our intuition.
    Barb Miller


  3. Pingback: High Stakes: The Employee Engagement Game « Linked 2 Leadership·

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