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Less than 1 in 5 Australian workers is actively engaged in the workplace.  Yes, I know that is hard to believe, however research from Gallup’s most recent study of Workplace Engagement puts Australian employees at one of the lowest levels in the world, being only 14%.

What do we mean by engagement and are real estate businesses immune from this national phenomena?

Engagement is demonstrated when employees are actively connected to the goals and purpose of the organisation and business, they are keen to see the business progress, enjoy working as part of the team to achieve this and are willing to give what is known as discretionary effort in the workplace.   In terms of engagement people sit in one of 3 categories… the actively engaged, the not engaged and the actively disengaged.  Not engaged workers can be difficult to spot… they are not hostile or disruptive.   They show up, often quietly kill time, are passive in their approach to customers, productivity, profitability, waste, risk and mission and purpose of the business.  They are often thinking about lunch, what is happening on the weekend and their next holiday.   Essentially they are “checked out”.  Actively disengaged employees on the other hand, are more or less out to damage the company.  They are toxic in relationships, undermine managers, have more incidents at work, have more sick leave and quit at a higher rate than engaged employees do.   What’s worse they will often actively influence in negative ways the not engaged workers.   Both these groups can be challenging to manage.  Whatever the engaged employee does – such as solving problems, innovating and creating new customers, the actively dis-engaged are systematically and actively undoing.

I am sure by now you know which employee group you want on your team.  In fact, imagine if you could create a team of engaged employees working together in synergy and harmony – the results would be astounding.  Let’s remember that in Australian businesses, based on hundreds of thousands of employees surveyed, only 14% are actively engaged.

That being the case, we have a significant problem on our hands.  If we or you have less than 1 in 5 employees who are actively engaged in the workplace, especially in an increasingly customer centric world where it is likely we will be overlooked if we are not switched on, then we are in trouble in a big way.

Here’s the interesting thing.   When I go into businesses, when I interview business owners and managers, when I observe what is happening I find most people agree with the findings, and can readily identify their staff who are not actively engaged.  However, for the most part there is a lack of understanding as to what stimulates, builds and maintains that employee engagement and therefore a general lack of skill in managing it.

There are a lot of people who would argue it’s all about recruiting the right people to your business.  A kind of set and forget approach.   Equally there are many who would talk to me about someone who they recruited well but has really ‘lost the plot recently’.  In other words, they were highly engaged when they started but for some obscure reason/s they have lost that shine or worse still have become a toxic influence in the office.

Well here are some tips…

Begin with measuring your employee engagement?   It is relatively simple to implement reliable and quantifiable methods of doing this right now and then on an ongoing basis.   This measurement gives you a benchmark which you can use to review your success as you implement engagement strategies.  To do this I would recommend you visit www.q12.gallup.com

Secondly use the information you obtain from these results to start proactively managing engagement in your team.   This is not a hit and miss type of exercise.   It is not necessarily something that you will know intuitively.   Without the proper tools, support partnerships, management strategies and a positive work environment, even the best employees will quickly become disengaged and unhappy in their work.

There has been a mountain of research done on this topic which has now been fed into the performance management strategies of the most successful companies world wide, ranging from 4 to 1,000’s of employees.   What has been revealed from this research and indeed Gallups’ ongoing work is that managers create the conditions and implement strategies that either develop or deplete the human connection (call it engagement) in their workplaces.

In other words recruitment of the right person is not good enough.   It is the leadership / management partnership that continues to provide the right environment and all of the other ingredients necessary to keep individuals actively engaged.

If you haven’t thought about this in the past and / or if you feel you need assistance with those tools, then we are here to help.   I am passionate about engagement and the links between it and culture and productivity… make sure you tune into future blogs for more information or contact us to find out what more you can do in your business to maximise your team’s performance.

I look forward to hearing from you

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