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12 Keys to employee engagement – 1

Posted Oct 01 2009 10:25pm
It’s a good practice to keep an eye out for management ideas outside of our own profession. If we don’t, we risk becoming insulated and archaic. What we really risk is someone coming in from the outside, implementing creative ideas that we’ve never even considered, and zooming past us in the competitive marketplace.

In light of that, I frequently refer to the Gallup organization, whose most recent database includes information obtained from surveys throughout 163 countries, covering over 6 million employees. Their goal is to discover what creates an environment of employee engagement, and what are key indicators of engagement.

One of my favorite survey results is a summary of 12 keys expectations that, when met, result in a high level of employee engagement. These keys are in the form of simple statements, easy to understand, but often not to easy to implement.

Over the next few weeks I want to look at these keys, and consider ways we can make them work within the context of health care, senior care and caregiving.

The first statement, Key Number 1, is simply this
“I know what is expected of me at work.”

Sounds pretty basic. But really, if this statement is agreed to only in companies with the very best management style, it means that many, many employees – nearly 71% of the workforce, in the Gallup organization’s survey, would NOT agree with this statement.

Maybe their boss says to them, “That’s not what I wanted you to do,” when you did exactly what you thought you were being asked to do.

Maybe they lack a job description that is clear and specific.

Maybe the bonus structure is dependent on what someone else does, even if the individual employee is doing exactly what his or her job description says.

Likely the person who can say this hears affirmation from his direct supervisor on a regular basis. He probably has regular conversations with his supervisor, clarifying priorities and tasks, and giving him feedback on how well he’s meeting his work goals.

Did you know that, in health care, one major contributor to the high rate of turnover is the negative relationship caregivers have with their immediate supervisors? In your organization, this may not be you, but a team leader or other middle level manager. Perhaps you have these expectation conversations with your team members, but then a middle level manager seems to expect something completely different.

Good leadership, the kind that makes a bottom line, sustained difference in an organization, doesn’t stop at the top. It filters through all levels of leadership, making sure that expectations and perceptions are the same throughout.

Ask a random sample of your team members how they would answer this question: “Do you know what is expected of you at work?”

The answer, in a well-engaged workforce, should be a clear, articulate, “Yes!”
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