Behind every successful organization is a high-performing staff. And behind every high-performing staff is smart workforce management. The most effective leaders know that the more job satisfaction their workforce feels, the more productive they will be, which in turn leads to greater profitability for the company.
But just 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to the 2013 “State of the American Workplace” report by Gallup. A 2013 survey conducted by The Energy Project and The Harvard Business Review found that only 33 percent of employees reported being able to do what they most enjoyed at the office. And mere 25 percent felt connected to their company’s mission. By and large, companies are failing at the employee engagement aspect of workforce management.
In his book Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win, Fred Kiel describes three keys to workplace engagement.
- Feeling connected to an organization’s goals and mission
- seeing a connection between your performance and compensation
- Feeling valued and appreciated for your contributions.
An effective workforce management plan is set up to meet these needs. Here are three simple workforce management strategies that will create a more focused atmosphere on your team, which better equips your people to hit their ambitious targets.
Walk the walk
When leaders exhibit the behavior they themselves promote, employees are more likely to model it as well as feel more engaged at work. Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath of The Energy Project found that when leaders encouraged their employees to work more sustainably—and did so themselves—their employees felt 55 more engaged and 53 percent more focused. Likewise, when employees see the leadership demonstrating characteristics that run counter to the company’s mission, both their loyalty and motivation take a hit. This is easy enough to get right as part of your workforce management.
Use non-monetary forms of recognition
Rewards don’t necessarily drive engagement—but they do reinforce achievement, which is a big engagement driver, says Bob Kelleher, founder of the Employee Engagement Group. Recognition can come in the form of money, of course, but non-monetary incentives show employees that the company is out to help them reach their potential professionally. Consider offering one-on-one meetings with a top sales manager or publicly recognizing a sales agent for landing a big account as part of your workforce management strategy. These tap into an employee’s desire to advance as well as be valued for their effort.
Regular, ongoing communication with employees as well as honest and tactful handling of layoffs, leadership changes, and other company-wide transitions is crucial to keeping them motivated. What communication tools do you have in place to communicate to employees, and what tools exist to capture their thoughts and ideas? If you’re sending out company-wide e-mail blasts, where can employees submit comments or questions? Remember that effective workforce management requires open lines of communication. Lack of communication or outright neglect from management are surefire ways to create disengagement.