Keeping Employee Involvement

Posted on April 4, 2012 by From the Front Management 4 Comments

There has been a lot of talk about employee interaction or employee engagement.  HUman resources is talking about it because this is so costly not to have.  The McKinsey report, Forbes, Harvard Business all know that this costs billions of dollars a year to have employees disengaged.  The numbers are staggering when seeing that the gallup poll estimates it to be about 71% of employees disengaged in the United States alone, let alone the world.

It seems though that what is not being talked about is how to fix it.  This is the area that is given by humans.  Some all it “discretionary effort”, “conscious giving”, “going the extra mile”, giving 100%, and of course engagement.  It is not something that can be bought or forced by intimidation and can be subtle as it slips away.  When employees feel that they have little worth, are treated poorly, or feel the company or manager does not care (to name a few), the human reaction will be to retreat.  Of course this will happen because of preservation.  Thus the productivity will slip alond with less involvement.  Sure the minimum will get done to keep the job but normally the extras will begin to fade.

This will not be a quick fix by putting in an adjustment here and an adjustment there.  Instead it must become a way of being having the frontline manager become the advocate and foundation for the frontline teams.  The frontline manager needs to be trained to become the coach of these employees.  This is a mindset change by companies hputting the emphasis on the frontline managers that directly influence the frontline employees.  This is the biggest cost to companies and the face of companies to the customers.

It is hard to imagine why this is not getting attention right away with the immense loss in revenue that occurs.  Plus the loss of employee engagement and involvement in company and customer interactions.

4 comments

  • Rick Maurer says:

    I agree with you about the importance of employee engagement and that organizations are missing a great opportunity when they feel to get people invovled deeply in their work. But I don’t believe you should start with training front line supervisors. If their employees aren’t engaged, I’d guess the supervisors may not be engaged, and the managers over them, and the senior managers over them. In other words, its bigger than just given one level of the organization a new set of skills. Poor engagement usually occurs in a culture that values other things. If you fail to address those values and practices, no amount of training will make a difference.

    • Rick, Appreciate your thoughts but now I must disagree. I see your point that upper levels may also not ne engaged but I believe that getting the frontline managers involved, engaged, and giving them the tools and techniques needed to accomplish this has the biggest effect on the largest group of employees. These employees are also the face of the company and the frontline managers are key in this. In my experience it is the perfect place to start.

      Thanks for your comment. And great start to a discussion.

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