Employee engagement remains critical to the success of organizations. Studies show that higher engagement means more motivated employees resulting in better customer satisfaction and company profitability. Even though Gallup reports show that employee engagement has slightly increased in U.S. workplaces over the past couple of months, research shows that only 34% of US workers consider themselves “engaged” in their jobs.

Some workplaces, like John Deere, consider this measurement so important to their success they measure it every 2 weeks! They believe that rapid response to motivational issues is imperative so they can attract and retain top talent.

We’ve spent 30 years working with top, global, 1000 companies, and have had the chance to observe high-performance cultures in action. Employees of highly-engaged workplaces report a culture of energized performance. When asked about the source of their energy, commitment, and success, they report three things

Community – a strong sense of belonging, rooted in common values, and common purpose – the experience of being “in this together,” and looking out for one another on the journey to shared achievement. In a genuine high-performance community, differences combined with trust produce brilliance. Leadership within the organization works to create trust ahead of time so there is always more trust in the relationship bank when they need to make a withdrawal.

Contribution – the ability to make a meaningful difference within the organization. The enjoyment of contribution is deeply human. We all love being valuable and leaving things better than we found them. In highly engaged organizations, people understand their value and report feeling like the solution rather than the problem. They feel appreciated and recognized for their contributions and believe that leadership within the organization will work to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard in support of those contributions.

Choice – the victory of commitment over compliance. Each of us chooses to be devoted or not; it cannot be demanded. When high engagement is present, people report understanding strategy and priorities and personally choose to support success. They report a personal relationship to organizational values and adopt them as their own. This deep clarity and ownership lead to more decision-making discretion. Colleagues feel trusted and it takes less time to get things done. Leadership in these organizations is aware of the skill needed to inspire committed choice rather than merely demand compliance.

Highly-engaged, vital organizations reliably achieve more with less time, money, and stress. When energized performance and high levels of engagement are present, people report experiences of community, contribution, and choice.

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