A lot of the time employees not being engaged at work is not for their lack of trying. A recent Harris Poll survey of over 23,000 employees showed employees struggle with how their company operates:
• Only 37% of employees clearly knew the company’s goals
• Only 20% were enthusiastic about those goals
• Only 20% could see how they could support those goals
• Only 15% felt like they were enabled to work towards those goals
• Only 20% fully trusted the company they worked for
This survey shows pretty clearly that employers as a whole have done a poor job of communicating with employees about the company goals and how they can help the company achieve those goals. How engaged can an employee be if they don’t see how they can support the company goals or feel like they are enabled to do so. It is no wonder only 20% of employees fully trust the company they work for.
When I was an administrator for a medical group, I would get frustrated when people would not follow the procedure that I had written. I really wanted to let the employee have it for being careless and not doing their job properly and following this great procedure I had written.
Much to my surprise most of the time it was because the procedure wasn’t written very well, hadn’t been explained in detail and I got very little input from the person who was doing the job when I wrote the procedure. In other words, I had set the employee up for frustration and failure. I did a very poor job of getting employee input and by-in on what they were expected to do. Getting employee input and buy-in sets them up to win and feel part of the team. It will also build trust and support for the company goals over all. People do not want to have eight or so hours of their day controlled by someone without having a say in it, but this is the reality for a lot of workers.
Why didn’t I get employee (team member is probably a better term) involvement when I was developing office goals and procedures? I think because I didn’t think they were capable of this level of thinking and they probably wouldn’t develop the procedure in an efficient way. I am sure I had more miss guided thinking, but my point is, I thought I was the boss so I needed to set the rules and they needed to follow them. That is where I was at. Talk about wrong thinking and wrong attitude toward the employees that worked for me. I wasn’t giving the employee much of a chance to feel any real ownership in their job.
From the survey results above, I am not the only business owner / manager who is thinking and acting in ways that don’t promote enthusiasm for the company goals and build trust with employees. Think about that the next time you make a top down decision.