Wed | May 27, 2020

Are your colleagues engaged?

Published:Monday | January 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM

If your colleagues are fully engaged, then your organisation is an exception.

The 2015 Global Human Capital Trends Survey identifies culture and engagement as the most important issues faced by companies around the world. Eighty-seven per cent of organisations cited culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, and 50 per cent call the problem "very important".

The low employee engagement challenge came to the fore during the massive lay-offs at the height of the downsizing crusade. Now, employee engagement and staff turnovers are further impacted by greater workforce mobility and severe skill shortages.

Studies consistently point to low employee engagement and motivation. The 2015 report made it clear that this is not merely a human resource problem.

"Organisations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organisational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent."

Dr Marshall Goldsmith, recognised as the number-one leadership thinker in the world at the 2013 biennial Thinkers50 ceremony in London, shares how he attended a conference during which leading professionals addressed the issue of engagement. While very useful information was presented, the entire focus was on action to be taken by the organisation. There was zero discussion about the role of the employee in dealing with the issue of engagement.

Yet, Goldsmith, in sharing insights from his Triggers bestseller, highlights the importance of internal motivation. How else can you explain the difference in the attitudes of two employees with the same emoluments, roles and training? One bubbles and the other fumes.

Surely, some aspects of engagement fall outside the scope of what an organisation can do. There is a need for employees to take some responsibility for their own engagement.

Here is a key question: If you turn up for work and spend your eight hours being miserable and unfulfilled, who is the big loser? Is it the organisation, its customers, your colleagues or YOU?

You just wasted a day of your life. You sacrificed your joy. Going through the motions in an unhappy state of mind is more damaging to YOU.

Here is another surprising observation: You would think that with engagement being such a critical factor, organisations would take steps to learn more about the issues that their employees are having and their views about changing the future. They often don't.

When last did your organisation offer you the opportunity to participate in an employee satisfaction or climate survey?

At the same time, as a provider of satisfaction survey solutions, it is shocking that despite numerous reminders and extension of survey closing dates, more than one-third of employees refuse to let their voices be heard when given the opportunity. So, on the one hand, employers are seemingly unaware of how cost-effective and logistically friendly it is to complete employee satisfaction surveys with platforms like FinxS. The engagement gap is widening despite investment in projects to address the issue.

Creating an environment for open information sharing is essential. Employees must also learn to protect their self-interest. Spending time being unproductive and miserable is not in your best interest. You have the power to change your mindset and make better use of your time. Even right-minded

prisoners of war have refused to let their captors steal their joy. Individual mindset is important.

n Find out how a FinxS platform survey can quickly and cost effectively deliver a comprehensive digest of employee feedback. Email Trevor

E. S. Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People Academy, home of the Certified Behavioural Coach award and the 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People. Both are accredited by SHRM and offer SHRM Professional Development Credits to be applied to the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP

certifications. Register now: