Are you getting the most out of your people? It’s complicated. Increasing employee engagement is a critical component of a healthy workplace. If you’re looking for ways to improve this important metric, keep reading to learn how you can get more from your talented workforce.

Employee Engagement Metrics

According to a recent Gallup Poll, only 33% of employees are engaged in their work.  Another survey cites a lack of appreciation as one of the most significant reasons people are disengaged or leave the job.  Well then, the problem is solved; to get your employees engaged and to retain them, you only need to make sure you show them more appreciation. If only it were that simple.

As managers and leaders, we are bombarded with statistics that tell us or imply the reasons ALL employees are more engaged or less engaged, why they leave or stay in a job.

The problem with this approach is it really tries to apply a one-size-fits-all solution. It attempts to answer the problem in simple terms.

The challenge is understandable by anyone who has tried on a shoe that is two sizes too small…it just doesn’t fit. It fits many people but not everyone.

As leaders, we are challenged to find solutions that motivate and engage everyone to the best of our ability and that solution is not a one size fits all possibility as much as we would like it to be.

“The old ways — annual reviews, forced rankings, outdated competencies —
no longer achieve the intended results.”

Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO, Gallup

What Appreciation Means To You Versus Your Employees

The truth is even if the survey that cited lack of appreciation is generally correct, it doesn’t go deep enough. What does appreciation mean to you?  If asked that question, you probably have a very quick answer that is solid and real… but it’s just for you. Personally, appreciation to me means I received a raise or bonus for the good work I did. For someone else, it might be my manager praising me in front of all the staff. While for another, having a manager come into my office and tell me quietly and in person how much they appreciate my contribution would do the trick.

The point is we are all motivated by different things. The leader’s job is to understand how each of us are motivated and work to make sure the job rewards what motivates us.

Understanding Staff On An Individual Level

Over time we can observe if a person is more or less dominant, more or less outgoing, detail-oriented or not; in other words, HOW they go about doing their work. Understanding WHY they do their work or, more accurately, what motivates them is challenging and requires more sleuthing on the part of the leader.

It’s natural for us to project our own “WHY,” and that’s the biggest trap leaders face. We have developed our own assessments that take the guesswork out of those process and accurately identify an individual’s WHY making a Leader’s job much easier.

The key is to put your own notions of need aside and really understand your people’s needs may be very different from your own.  It takes a little more time upfront but, in the end, it will save you time in refilling positions and improve your organization’s performance.