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Why Companies Haven't Succeeded In Improving Employee Engagement

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Employee Engagement Affected By Literally Hundreds Of "Microfactors"

by Robert Bacal

While we've stated that organizations are not in control of many of the factors that affect employees' desire to work hard for a company, it's obvious that there are still factors under the control of the company, how it functions, and so on that have to have SOME effect.

While nobody knows in numerical terms how much of employee engagement is accounted for by the individuals' own characterstics, and how much by what the company does, it's still worth looking at what companies would need to do to raise the effort put out by employees.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road - Microfactors

Think about what affects YOUR perception of your job and your employer. Is it single "big" things, few in nature, or is it more accurate that your perception of your situation is dictated by hundreds of little interactions, day by day, with management, co-workers, and so on.

You experience thise microfactors, for example how your boss talked to you yesterday, and your enjoyment of particular aspects of your job in a very dynamic way, and it's the sum of those experiences that forms your perceptions and your level of motivation or engagement.

In Order To Increase Employee Engagement, Companies Need To...

...change enough of these microfactors so that the experience and perceptions of each employee change in a positive direction.

That's a huge problem, because you can't do any "one" thing to change perceptions that are formed dynamically and by hundreds of factors that affect the worker's experience.

You have to impact the behavior of many people, in many situations, and not just change policies, or institute various programs, and so on. For example, if you want managers to manage more effectively to solicit engagement, you need to have the managers change many many behaviors, from how they might delegate, to how the set goals, and how they recognize employees, and you have to do it across almost all managers in the organization.

You can't do it. Or at least you cannot do it quickly, and you can't do it consistently.

If you look at the Gallup 12 - factors they suggest affect employee engagement, you'll find they suggest that employee engagement improves if your employees have a sense of meaning in their work.  That's not new, of course, and we've known it for decades, but it seems remarkably simple.

Until you realize all of the behaviors that have to change, even procedures that have to be changed to "increase the meaningfulness of work".

Conclusion On Failure

It's a huge mistake to think that "all" a company has to do is address the Gallup 12 factors - the elements that impact on engagement. It's a huge task when you break it down into the pervasive behavioral changes in the workplace on the part of management, employees, procedures, in fact everything in the organizaton.

One of the major reasons companies fail here is that it's almost impossible to do even if you want to do it, and second companies take a very simplistic view of what has to be done to impact on employee engagement scores, nevermind having an impact on business success.

About Company

Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992. Since then Robert has trained thousands of employees to deal with angry, hostile, abusive and potentially violent customers. He has authored over 20 books on various subjects, many published by McGraw-Hill.


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