Mark Crowley, leadership coach and author of the book Lead With Your Heart, recently reported that American business is losing its war on employee engagement. Collectively, we get a failing grade. Despite all of the efforts and billions of dollars spent in the past 30 years, the needle is barely moving.
Why? I believe it’s because leaders are not taking this issue seriously. Leaders roll out employee engagement initiatives as programs and employees view the efforts as the program du jour, which we all know has a negative connotation. It implies that the initiative will be here one day and gone the next, replaced by the next critical program du jour. Deflating to say the least.
How do we fix this? It starts at the executive level. Business owners, presidents and CEOs must take a lesson from Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, billionaire founder of the Virgin Group. He intelligently says, “Your employees are your greatest asset – your competitive advantage. They’re the ones making the magic happen, as long as their needs are being met.” However, employee’s needs are not being met.
Leaders, employee engagement is not a program and it will fail if it’s treated as such. You must be courageous and fundamentally change the way you run your business. Then you must hold other leaders and people managers accountable who do not embrace “the new way we do things here.”
The employee engagement fix is not rocket science. You simply need to treat employees like the incredible assets they are by getting the right person in every chair, implementing goal alignment, building a two-way communication culture, and recognizing people. Real leaders have the courage to lead change … do you?