Employee Engagement in The Tech Industry
Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report 2017 shows that 85% of employees are not engaged or (even worse) are disengaged at work. Breaking this figure down, 18% of workers are actively disengaged while 67% are not engaged. In real terms that's the majority of the workforce - of the world - that is not giving their best work, ideas, efforts. They may be giving their time and taking your money but they’re not coming into work wanting to make a difference to your organisation. And you have to admit, that kind of hurts.
So where has it all gone so very badly wrong? Clearly, the world economy is reliant on us getting this right so what steps can businesses like yours take to address the issue?
In this blog, we look at why engagement is now such a problem and suggest five steps you can take to improve it in your business.
When did employees get so disillusioned?
Such a consistent global engagement problem is like a neon warning light flashing over the way in which we manage performance and develop our people and here's a clue: traditional management and annual reviews simply don't cut it anymore.
The reason is that work has changed along with our attitudes and expectations. The new workforce (which includes all socio-demographic groups and management levels) wants purpose, regular and continuous feedback, personal development, a manager who is a coach and mentor not a slave driver. And maybe, just maybe, that person is interested enough to focus on their strengths and using these as a point for development; not just consider management a finger poking exercise where things went wrong.
Many companies don't get this. And for tech companies where skills are in short supply, their continued existence is reliant on securing and retaining scarce talent - that will walk - if they get it wrong.
Let's looks at those 5 steps to ignite engagement:
1. Provide a meaningful purpose
We all need a purpose - a reason for being. If employees believe in a purpose (i.e. why their organisation exists) they are more inclined to do what it takes to achieve it. Keep employees in the dark and they will flounder, but share and communicate the vision and mission of the company and where they fit into achieving it and - hey presto! Engagement, ownership, a sense of belonging.
2. Train your managers
Not everyone is an effective manager - and some will never be good, even with training. Fact. It's your responsibility to identify who should be managing - then equip them with the knowledge they need. From onboarding, carrying out performance reviews, regular checkpoints to ongoing coaching and development. These are difficult conversations that require training, empathy and practice. Done well, they are the bedrock of improved employee engagement.
3. Commit to transparency and open communication
Create a culture of transparency where creativity and innovation can flourish. There should be an environment of radical candour, where no question goes unanswered, no suggestion is ignored and there's no fear or consequence.
Sharing bad news and good goes hand in hand with achieving a purpose which everyone in an organisation wants to fight for. Don't sugar coat it - instead, make people feel involved and invested in your mutual success.
4. Peer to peer recognition and collaboration helps drive positivity
Small things make a big difference. Encouraging peer to peer recognition can dramatically affect positivity - the start of improved employee engagement. Start a staff appreciation board where employees are free to thank anyone who has helped them each week, give shout outs at the weekly All Hands or give more formal awards of recognition on a regular basis.
5. Career development is important to everyone
Lack of advancement is the main reason why people decide to leave a company (up to 40% according to a recent survey by Express Employment Professionals). Good management is the key to helping define a career roadmap for employees and coaching them through it. Part of this will be giving space and time to learn new skills needed to step up to the next challenge.
Here at Chelsea-Apps Factory, we are very much aware of the need to keep our people feeling engaged. We strive to live by our values. Our values are not developed by the leadership team but arrived at through a highly collaborative and inclusive process that involved the views of the whole business. We practice radical candour. We encourage and invest in our people’s development. We have a shared purpose. We’re getting there. Are you?
For further inspiration have a look at:
Emma Bridger - Employee Engagement
Gethin Nadin - A World of Good