A Missed Opportunity for Increased Employee Engagement!

February 01, 2022

Disengaged worker
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Research showing high levels of employee disengagement 
"indicates an American leadership philosophy that simply doesn't work anymore."

Gallup 2017 "State of the Workplace Report"

Most people are familiar with the Gallop Organization for the regular polling they do to determine the public's sentiment on issues in the news, like the state of the economy, the favorability of a particular government policy, or the popularity of political issues, office holders, or candidates.

But Gallop has also done a significant amount of research work in the workplace, with results reported periodically in their State of the American Workplace Report.

The latest edition, published in 2017, emphasizes the level of engagement of employees in the work they do, and the findings are not pretty.

According to the report, fully two-thirds of employees are either "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" at work.

Gallop concludes, rightly, that, "These figures indicate an American leadership philosophy that simply doesn't work anymore."

Gallop Data Chart

Gallup 2017 State of the American Workplace Report

Factors Impacting Engagement

As might be expected, Gallup doesn't just leave us with bad news and a "good luck" sign-off at the end of their report.

Their research, dating back over 40 years to the 1980's, 
has yielded important findings that reveal what employers need to do to significantly increase employee engagement in the workplace.

These factors are captured in Gallup's Q12 employee engagement survey, and their 
latest meta-analysis research indicates that their relationship between engagement and performance is "substantial":

1)   I know what is expected of me at work.
2)   I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
3)   At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
4)   In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
5)   My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
6)   There is someone at work who encourages my development.
7)   At work, my opinions seem to count.
8)   The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
9)   My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
10)  I have a best friend at work.
11)  In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
12)  This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

A Missed Opportunity

Like many, if not most people, I used to really dislike the hiring process.  Performance Reviews were not liked any better.

However, when I decided to undergo a fundamental change in how I ran my business, it became clear to me that both the hiring and employee review processes were key to a much higher level of performance for my company, and much greater personal and professional freedom for me.

I now love both the hiring and review process, which is crazy, right?  But it's true, and for good reason.

My hiring process has been outlined in a previous article, which included an explanation of why it's so important to finding the right people for your team.  But once you have your "dream team" of employees on board, how do you keep them motivated, engaged, and happy?

The answer is one of the most under valued processes in any organization, and one of the biggest missed opportunities to make a significant impact on both employee performance and engagement.

The employee review process.

It was an essential element to my success building a very strong company culture, greater efficiency, and accomplishing much, much more as an organization.

Quite simply, the employee review process is an incredible opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the organization and the employee.

If you handle reviews with enthusiasm, make the employee feel special, that it’s important for you to take time out of your busy schedule to focus time on them, their well-being, and their success, then you will be creating incredible buy-in, loyalty, increased engagement, and enthusiasm for the organization.

HOWEVER, not all employee review processes are equal.

There are many great processes ranging from 360-degree-feedback surveys to the "Management by Objective" (MBO) process made famous in the 1950's by Peter Drucker.

For small business owners, specifically those who don't have a formal human resources department, a simple to use process that is easily implemented and doesn't take lots of the owner's time is essential.

Importantly, to be most effective, regardless of how simple or complex, the employee review process needs to address as many of the twelve factors as possible identified by Gallup's research.

Let's consider one process that meets most of this criteria!

Review meeting

A Simple But Effective Employee Review Process

The three key elements of any performance review are:

    1.  Goal Setting

    2.  Performance Review

    3.  Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)

When I created my employee review process, it started with a simple fillable PDF form that included these three elements and hits on as many of the twelve factors from Gallup as possible.

The form is provided to the employee to fill out as a self-evaluation, then shared with their supervisor for review and comment prior to the review meeting.

This process takes much less time for the supervisor (owner) because they're not completing the form but, instead, responding to what the employee has taken time to write.

Specifically, the form covers only the most essential information, using a handful of short questions:

    1.  Employee alignment with the organization's core values.

    2.  Self-assessment of challenges and achievements.

    3.  Feedback on how the company and their supervisor can help to build skills and make them more successful.

    4.  Establishing one-year SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound).

That's it.  No long 50 question assessment.  No fancy evaluation of competencies or "graphic rating scales".  All things that employees and supervisors dread.

As a constructive review, the meeting will inevitably include critical feedback, but this format is much less interrogation and critique and much more a discussion about information the employee has shared willingly, reducing defensiveness, fostering collaboration, and having a 
significant positive impact on both employee performance and engagement.

Public speaking

Finding Greater Freedom

Lastly, we recommend that reviews be conducted every six months if possible, and of course don't skip a year between reviews because everyone is "too busy".

Again, you'll be missing out on one of the most under valued opportunities to create a much higher level of performance for your organization, and much greater personal and professional freedom for yourself!

For a FREE copy of my "Freedom Focused Employee Review Process" including an example of the fillable PDF form described above, CLICK HERE.

To learn all of the important processes for building your own "Dream Team" of employees, including exactly how to implement the Freedom Focused Employee Review Process, we would love to include you in our next "Dream Team Builder" online course,  CLICK HERE to learn more.

And, don't forget to stay...

Focused on your freedom!

Listen to the podcast episode: #017 Employee Reviews You and Your Team Will Look Forward To

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