Employee engagement has weakened dramatically, and a Gallup survey found that two-thirds of the workforce is inadequately engaged. That startling lack of engagement costs businesses in the U.S. between five and six billion dollars a year in lost productivity. So what’s the solution? The word “engage” can be traced back in history to a French word that meant to make a commitment to someone or something. You need to give each of your employees and teams compelling reasons to make and sustain that kind of personal and professional commitment. I’ve found that leaders can inspire much higher levels of engagement among their teams if they diligently follow the acronym ENGAGE, which stands for Empower, Nurture, Grow, Acknowledge, Guide, and Emphasize.
Let’s look closer at each element of this acronym to see why that’s true and how it can help you boost your own levels of performance and productivity.
E = Empower
Great companies continually empower their employees to think and act for themselves with the mindset of a leader. That requires giving them real responsibility, coupled with accountability. But when you delegate more power to employees and develop them to their highest potential…and inspire them to think like owners do…the entire organization becomes populated with self-starters. You have an entire workforce of proactive leaders focused on satisfying your customers at every step in the process. That’s one of the fastest ways to strengthen corporate DNA, increase workplace morale, and boost overall productivity and revenue performance.Inadequate engagement costs US businesses between five to six million a year in lost productivity Click To Tweet
N = Nurture
You need to nurture an intentional organizational culture, rooted in your core values and a spirit of inclusive collaboration and dynamic teamwork. By strategically cultivating an environment that makes everyone feel that they are part of something greater than themselves, your workforce because cohesively aligned with your brand. Take care of your employees. Give your managers the support and resources they need. Develop your leaders for greatness. Rid your ranks of negativity. Unite everyone around a positive and transformational business philosophy. That solidarity of purpose will make you incredibly competitive and attractive to new hires.
G = Grow
By nurturing your workforce, you plant the seeds for phenomenal and scalable growth, both in terms of your market footprint and your profitability. When leaders leverage the strengths, abilities, and full potential of each of their team members, it’s magnificent to see how those employees flourish. They’re inspired by their own growth, and once they see that you are giving them what they need to grow in their careers, they’ll give you 100 percent, every minute of the day. But as a leader you have to learn to see their potential and provide “developmental stretch” opportunities, with encouragement, coaching, and hands-on guidance. When an employee realizes that you believe in them more than they believe in themselves, they will be motivated to step past their perceived limitations and achieve much more for you and your company.Give your employees compelling reasons to make personal & professional commitment Click To Tweet
A = Acknowledge
When you acknowledge the contributions and achievements of employees, that builds their psychological momentum and confidence. Don’t just wait to celebrate the major milestones. Recognize the small victories, whether it’s a goal reached, an idea shared, or a personal accomplishment. Think about it. When you do something worthwhile and valuable and it is not acknowledged, that makes you feel deflated and not appreciated. To change or inspire human behavior and positive behavioral changes, you have to encourage those transformations with gratitude and positive feedback. That will contribute much more toward productivity than you’ll ever gain by emphasizing what’s wrong and focusing your energy on employee critiques and mistakes.
G = Guide
To provide guidance you have to provide a vision of the future that your employees can vividly picture. But I am met with blank stares whenever I interview employees in focus groups and ask them “What’s the company’s overall vision?” So then I ask, “Tell me what is your critical value that you bring to the table.” Yes you guessed it – more blank stares. How can they be engaged, if they don’t even know their role or the ultimate outcome you expect from them? Your responsibility as a leader is to ensure that every single person on your team can easily articulate in just a few sentences your core mission, values, and vision. Then, with that target in mind, they can help you achieve that shared objective. Visualize exactly what you are asking of your teams. Then communicate it to them so it is crystal clear, and reinforce that vision on a daily basis
E = Emphasize
Employees want you to emphasize the meaningfulness of the work your organization does, and the higher purpose it serves. We all want to be contributing to our communities and to a better, more improved world. Help your employees understand the valuable role that they play. Also keep in mind that each employee has special talents, gifts, and a uniquely rich background they bring to work. How are you helping them leverage and emphasize those valuable assets throughout their work? Be the kind of inspirational leader who focuses on the big picture, both within the organization and within the lives of those who represent the vital DNA of the organization.
To engage your employees, you also have to make sure that you yourself are fully engaged. I’ve always believed that leaders set the cultural standards and the tone that their employees follow. Are you moving the dial forward or accepting the same old status quo? Put these ENGAGE principles into practice on a daily basis, and accelerate your organization while developing yourself into a more productive, influential leader.