We make employee engagement a lot harder than it needs to be.
Look, employee dis-engagement is a challenge for companies everywhere, in every industry. Gallup recently reported that employee disengagement is currently costing businesses an estimated $8.8 trillion globally. To fix this costly crisis, leadership needs to understand the factors driving it. But instead of addressing the elephant in the room, we get sidetracked with shiny bandaid fixes. We dance around the root problems. We treat employees like teenagers, assuming that a foosball table and fridge stocked with juice boxes and booze will do the trick.
Then we’re baffled when the shiny fixes don’t result in engaged workers.
How about we look at the elephant instead?
Let’s start with the simple question: what makes people engaged in a situation?
Look at your own life, both work and personal. What situations draw you in? What gets you excited? What lights you up?
The most important answers are universal, deriving from our need to be seen, our need to have control over our destiny, our desire to make a difference, and our need for community. Look at your company, consider how many of these engagement elements are true for your employees:
✅Feeling valued: Others genuinely care about what you think and how you feel.
✅Autonomy: Being trusted to make decisions.
✅Contributing to something meaningful: You know the work you’re doing makes a difference.
✅Passion: Doing something you love.
✅Connection and community: Being surrounded by others who share your values.
✅Growth: Opportunities to learn and try new things.
It doesn’t matter how many juice boxes you offer if you’re not offering your people any of the above. Just 3 of these magnetic engagement factors will transform your workforce from unhappy zombies to engaged wizards.
Is it easier to buy a foosball table?
But shiny bandaids don’t work.
To get an engaged workforce you need to make your company worthy of your employees’ engagement, worthy of their passion, and worthy of their commitment.
P.S. Looking for a way to turbocharge your employee engagement? I help leaders embed Purpose into the soul of their company, and nothing inspires a dedicated workforce like Purpose. Please reach out and let me know how I can help you.