Enable Employee Engagement. Not Employee Entitlement

You finally seem to have found the perfect candidate to fill that long vacant position. He is young, fresh, full of new ideas and also seems eager to learn. You offer him the job, knowing full well how lucky he is to get this opportunity at the start of his career.

“Thanks for the job offer, but I have a few conditions before I accept. I need to be able to work from home at least two days a week, plus I need to be able to bring my emotional support dog into office.”

Ever thought you would hear these words from someone who got offered their first job out of college? Crazier still, ever thought you would actually agree to these conditions?

There was a time, not long ago, that the employer would hold all the power during a job interview. But things are changing. According to global employee engagement guru Bob Kelleher, 2019 is shaping up as the year your organization’s employees are in the driver’s seat. Kelleher warns of a shift in the employer/employee, supply/demand curve with businesses growing, thousands of baby boomers going in to retirement and millennials beginning to dominate the workforce. Increasingly more HR managers are learning that the potential employee on the other side of the desk is calling the shots. Yes, if you thought human resource management was already a nightmare, you can only look forward to it getting more complicated!

If you are already having a hard time finding good people to work for you, it won’t please you to know that you might also be losing good people due to a lack of employee engagement. Why should this bother you? Employee turnover is an expensive business. Studies show that the total cost of losing an employee can range from thousands of dollars to 1.5–2.0x the employee’s annual salary .

Let’s take a closer look at the issue of a ‘lack of engagement’, one of the main reason’s employees leave an organization. The numbers are not pretty.

Gallup’s 2017 report on the State of the American Workplace concludes that only 33% of American workers are engaged at work, meaning they love their jobs and try to make their company better. On the other end, as many as 51% of workers are not-engaged and 16% are actively disengaged, meaning they are miserable and destroy what the most engaged employees build. This means that as much as 67% of an organization’s employees are unhappy,
un-motivated, less productive and are ready to jump ship the moment something better comes along.

Furthermore, Gallup also reports strong correlations between engagement and company performance across different organizations from diverse industries throughout the world.

Their research shows that companies with an engaged workforce have higher earnings per share.

The message is clear. Organizations have to focus on employee engagement to improve company performance, increase productivity and retain good talent.

But here is where you need to be cautious. Engagement is NOT satisfaction. As pointed out by Kelleher, if you focus on keeping your employees satisfied and happy you run the risk of creating a mentality of employee entitlement as a culture of engagement.

What is employee entitlement mentality?
Many HR managers go to great lengths and expense to design benefit plans that will keep employees happy, satisfied and motivated. That’s all great in theory. But the practical problems begin when employees come to expect it as their due and what was once a privilege becomes a ‘right’. The benefits bar is raised higher and higher, increasing expenses and ultimately eating into the bottom line.

Entitlement mentality manifests in the workplace in myriad ways. The most obvious example is an employee who expects a reward just for fulfilling the basic requirements of a job description. In many ways, this mentality is akin to a one-way street. The employer is expected to give rewards and jump through hoops to keep the employee satisfied, but the employee feels no accountability to meet a certain level of excellence at their job.

How does engagement differ from this?
Employee engagement is more than this. Yes, the boss does all they can to help employees reach their potential, while keeping them motivated and happy. But this is a two-way street. Employees simultaneously do all they can to help the business be successful. Kelleher believes that holding employees accountable leads to their engagement scores going up, because employees in general are looking to achieve and win. It’s the company’s responsibility to
provide and clearly communicate the necessary compensation and financial structures, reward systems, metrics and KPI’s, so that employees can see that line of sight

Here are some ways you can create a more engaged workforce.

Feedback / feedforward. Annual performance appraisals are a thing of the past. Research has shown that employees who don’t receive regular feedback from their managers are actively disengaged, with engagement increasing when employees receive regular constructive feedback about their weaknesses and more so when they receive feedback about their strengths. In the same way, employees also are more engaged when they are coached and mentored on what they can do differently in the future. Feedforward provides suggestions for improvement and focuses on developing the person, not just rating their past performance.

Training and development. According to a study conducted by the Dale Carnegie Training Center, 40% of employees leave a job within the year due to poor training. Giving employees a solid learning and development program will ensure that they are engaged and motivated to perform better. A digital learning management system (LMS) can help optimize your employee
training and development initiatives by enabling rich content, including video and graphic aids, which create meaningful learning experiences. Studies have found that students using an interactive digital based learning program outperformed those who used a non-interactive program, supporting the hypothesis that interactive features facilitate learning by actively engaging the learner.

Technological transformation. New digital tools such as feedback apps, pulse tools, social networking tools and gamification are fast becoming a trend of employee engagement. They allow for regular, real time check-ins with employees and provide new and exciting ways for them to interact with each other, as well as with the company. Gamification utilizes the competitive spirit which inherently resides in humans. We become more absorbed, engaged, and are more willing to make an extra effort to increase our rank and be recognized as star performers.

Focusing on employee engagement is not difficult. Investing in the right platforms that can help you is half the battle won. If you are looking for an LMS Solution that offers the tools you need to boost employee engagement and retain good talent, visit www.getlayup.com. If you’re interested, send us an email to contact@getlayup.com, so that we can help your organization engage and motivate its workforce.

Layup makes learning fun. Layup uses a social media approach, fused with game dynamics, to create a learning platform that employees love.