Board Converting News, August 30, 2021

Hiring Engaged Employees (CONT’D FROM PAGE 1 )

about their work environment. “The most common mis- conception by employers is thinking people are engaged when they aren’t,” says Tosh. A close look at employee attitude is likely to be eye opening. A recent Gallup report revealed that only 36 percentof employees at the typical business are fully en- gaged, which means giving their best efforts or working to their full potential. Fully 13 percent are “actively disen- gaged,” which means they are miserable in their duties and spreading unhappiness to coworkers—and, presum- ably, customers. Perhaps as alarming was Gallup’s finding that 51 percent of employees are “not engaged”—psycho- logically unattached and just “going through the motions.” In other words, a majority of employees are not pulling their weight. The best way to assess employee engagement is to speak with them one-on-one. “Periodic conversations with employees will reveal any issues about their working con-

forces that propel top achievers. “There is a difference between motivation and engagement,” explains William J. Rothwell, Professor of Workforce Education and Develop- ment at Pennsylvania State University. “Motivation is inter- nal to people while engagement is a passion for what they do. Engagement requires a match between the person’s passions and their daily work activities.” Employees who are both motivated and engaged con- tribute maximum value to their employers. Not only do they get more easily into the flow of their work, but they reduce costly turnover by sticking around longer. “A re- cent Gallup survey shows that engaged employees drive 12 percent more profit,” says Tosh. “They are far more pro- ductive and lead to higher customer satisfaction.” Before taking steps to improve employee engagement, a business needs to assess how its staff currently feels

ditions,” says Rothwell. “The business environ- ment is one thing, but how people perceive it and feel about it is very often another.” Here the supervisor plays a key role. “Ef- fective supervisors are catalysts,” says Tosh. “They impact and utilize employee talents to achieve business goals.” It’s the frequent touch points of supervisor and employee, he adds, that offers the greatest potential. “Each interaction, even momentary, is an opportunity to build the relationship, to coach, and to im- prove the employee’s performance.” Unfortunately, too many supervisors see worker interactions as interruptions rather than opportunities. Other times, the personalities of supervisors clash with their charges. And that can be a major demotivator. “An employee’s perception of their relationship with their man- ager is far more important than their percep- tion of the organization as a whole,” says Tosh. Bonus tip: Engage the cynics. What to do with that subset of employees that always seem to have a negative interpretation of workplace events? Harness their energies. “Sometimes your cynics are your best critics,” says Bob Verchota, senior consultant at RPVerchota & Associates, Minneapolis. “Make a focus group out of them. Then you can really work on re- moving barriers to efficient employee perfor- mance.” Top Motivators Supervisors can use motivational tech- niques to re-engage workers and keep ev- eryone performing at an elevated level. But what techniques will work? While the common wisdom says throwing more money at peo- ple will stimulate performance, studies have shown that not to be true. “When people are



August 30, 2021

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