Guest Post by Doug Brown

With the overwhelming evidence indicating employee engagement is critical to business success, why is it that overall engagement continues to be such a challenge for many businesses and industries?

One would think that organizations would have employee engagement on the top of their agendas with considerable budgets and strategies in place to ensure that they do everything possible to maintain high engagement levels. Unfortunately this is not really the case and we see a wide range commitment levels to building high engagements levels.

What drives employee engagement?Three key roadblocks to employee engagement:

1. Leadership’s misunderstanding of what employee engagement is, the benefits it provides and the role they play in engagement.

Many years ago businesses operated with primarily a “command and control” management style. Over recent decades this style has shown diminishing results as people want to be involved in the companies they work for and have input into their career development and key decisions in the company. Not everyone has grasped this concept and we still see many leaders and managers who rule with an iron thumb, who are not willing to accept new ideas and suggestions, bully employees in the workplace, communicate inappropriately and create an unpleasant work environment.

The first step towards engagement must be to help these leaders and managers understand how their management style impacts engagement and what skills and competencies are required to build engagement. We have suggested in the past that leaders and managers be held accountable for engagement levels in their departments and be compensated accordingly when they achieve high staff engagement.

2. Many companies refuse to accept that employee engagement can be improved in their organization.

They believe that all staff is already highly engaged. Engagement levels are very dynamic and even with companies demonstrating high engagement (the minority as shown by documented research) there is always room for improvement and evaluating new strategies should be considered periodically. Since engagement is a very personal decision, there can always be certain employee demographics or specific employees who are not completely on board with the company mission and as such may need a more individual approach for success.

3. Proper employee engagement strategy often requires financial investment and many companies are unwilling or unable to secure the capital necessary.

Consequently they try to operate programs in house with very little budget or commitment and many times programs fail as no one person has the control, authority or mandate to sustain and build the programs. This can be very short-sighted indeed. Senior executives and decision makers need to understand the ROI that comes from engaged employees and how they can realize profitable returns. This can be from increased loyalty, enhanced productivity and ingenuity, commitment to improvement and excellence, better customer relationships and service and many, many more benefits that impact the bottom line.

Take time to reconsider your engagement levels and strategy!

Guest Author

Doug Brown is President of Engaged2Perform. Doug is passionate about employee engagement and believes strongly that business success ultimately resides with the performance of company management and employees and building productive working relationships. For the past 30 years, Doug has served in roles from supervisor to president, overseeing production, quality control, sales and marketing, administration, and distribution and fulfillment. Doug believes that performance success requires not only intelligence and cognitive skills, but also motivation, inspiration, encouragement that set the stage for real engagement. Follow Doug Brown on Twitter.