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Aug 08, 2019 | 5 Minute Read

Creating the Ultimate Workplace: 12 Elements of Employee Engagement

diverse workers sitting around table

4 in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that when they are at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. The flip side, then, is that 6 out of 10 do not feel that they are doing what they do best on a daily basis. Why is this?

According to Gallup, for employees to be highly productive, they require clear role expectations, the ability to do what they do best, communication about their organization’s purpose and learning and development opportunities, among other important factors. While happiness may be a byproduct, meeting employee needs make them better performers, which should be any organization’s ultimate goal.

This curated blog is derived from Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report and it highlights 12 key elements of engagement, and where employees feel they are in relation to these elements. In many cases, it paints a somewhat alarming picture of the gap that exists between the current and the ideal workplace. 

If you are a business owner, human resource professional or team leader, being aware of the disparities that exist in today’s workplace can be a great resource for improving morale, productivity and engagement of your workforce.

 

Q01. I know what is expected of me at work.

Six in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the first engagement element. By moving that ratio to eight in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 14% reduction in turnover, a 20% reduction in safety incidents and a 7% increase in productivity.

Employees who strongly agree that their job description aligns with the work they are asked to do are 2.5 times more likely than other employees to be engaged

Q02. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.

Three in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the second engagement element. By moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organizations could realize an 11% increase in profitability, a 32% reduction in safety incidents and a 27% improvement in quality. 

Of the 12 elements, a person having the materials and equipment to do their work well is the strongest indicator of job stress.

Q03. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

Four in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the third engagement element. By moving that ratio to eight in 10 employees, organizations could realize an 8% increase in customer engagement scores, a 14% increase in profitability and a 46% reduction in safety incidents. 

One of the most powerful strategies a manager and organization can implement is providing employees with opportunities to apply the best of their natural selves — their talents — as well as their skills and knowledge. The third element of engagement is the most important factor to employees when considering whether to take a job with a different organization, and it is one of the main reasons they choose to leave a job.  

Q04. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

Three in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the fourth engagement element. By moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 24% improvement in quality, a 27% reduction in absenteeism and a 10% reduction in shrinkage. 

Employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely as those who do feel adequately recognized to say they'll quit in the next year.

Q05. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.

Four in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the fifth engagement element. By moving that ratio to eight in 10 employees, organizations could realize an 8% improvement in engaged customers, a 32% reduction in safety incidents and a 41% reduction in absenteeism. 

Employees need to know that they are more than a number. They need to know that someone is concerned about them as people first and as employees second. 

Q06. There is someone at work who encourages my development.

Three in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the sixth engagement element. By moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 6% improvement in engaged customers, an 11% improvement in profitability and a 28% reduction in absenteeism. 

Employees need help navigating their career, whether that is through coaching, exposure and visibility, or challenging work assignments. 

Q07. At work, my opinions seem to count.

Three in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the seventh engagement element. By moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 27% reduction in turnover, a 40% reduction in safety incidents and a 12% increase in productivity. 

Leaders can’t survive on their own, nor do they have all the answers. Asking for and considering individuals’ input leads to more informed decision-making and better results. 

Q08. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.

Four in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the eighth engagement element. By moving that ratio to eight in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism, a 50% drop in patient safety incidents and a 33% improvement in quality. 

Employees cannot energize themselves to do all they could do without knowing how their job helps to fulfill a higher purpose.

Q09. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

Three in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the ninth engagement element. By moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 29% reduction in turnover and absenteeism, an 11% improvement in profit and a 6% increase in engaged customers. 

The worst performer on the team sets the team’s standards. Employees need to be in an environment where there are mutual trust and respect for one another’s efforts and results. This starts with a deep awareness of work standards and team expectations. 

Q10. I have a best friend at work.

Two in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the 10th engagement element. By moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organizations could realize 36% fewer safety incidents, 7% more engaged customers and 12% higher profit. 

When employees possess a deep sense of affiliation with their team members, they are driven to take positive actions that benefit the business — actions they may not otherwise even consider. 

Q11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.

Three in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the 11th engagement element. By moving that ratio to six in 10 employees, organizations could realize 34% fewer safety incidents, 26% less absenteeism and 11% higher profit. 

What is most important to employees is that they understand how they are doing, their manager’s perception of their work quality and where their work may be leading their career path. 

Q12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Four in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree with the 12th engagement element. By moving that ratio to eight in 10 employees, organizations could realize 44% less absenteeism, 41% fewer safety incidents and 16% higher productivity. 

The desire to learn and grow is a natural human need and one that is required to keep employees motivated and progressing.

 

What it all means

With question one being the only exception, most questions were answered more often toward the negative than the positive. That’s a strong indicator that, despite current conditions making it an employee’s market, workers are not pleased with their current work situation, more times than not. 


Imagine the progress that could be made if your organization was able to raise the bar on even just a few of these vital, integral wants and needs of its employees. Organizations that truly want to succeed should truly listen to its employees and the honest feedback they will offer. Then, take that feedback and implement as many of the ideas as possible to show the workforce that their ideas really do matter and that the organization is doing all it can to help provide employees with the optimal work environment possible. 

 

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Dave Clark
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