Here are the employee engagement facts: Having committed and engaged people is a hallmark of top performing companies. Gallup has measured employee engagement for 30 years surveying over 17 million people. They consistently find that on average only 33% of employees are engaged, while about half (49%) are not engaged and another 18% are actively disengaged. That means one in five are “bomb throwers” intentionally tugging down the morale of those around them.
In any company that’s a problem. In a small entrepreneurial company....it’s poison.
For us who run growing mid-market companies, the research shows that a lack of staff buy-in occurs primarily at two points as we grow.
Staff Buy-in first becomes a #1 challenge as we first grow to 20-34 employees. That’s the time when the company moves beyond the CEO’s span of control. That control must now be delegated. Thus people begin to feel disconnected from their leader as there’s now an intermediary between them and the boss. 20-34 employees is what’s known as Stage Three or the Delegation stage of growth. Delegation comes after the Start-up and Ramp-Up stages.
Lack of staff buy-in again becomes a top challenge at a time when your grow to 96-160, people. You’re then in Stage Six or the Strategic Stage. This is not to say staff buy-in can’t be an issue at any stage.....especially when it’s not addressed by leadership (you).
Here are five sure fire ways to improve staff buy-in.
1. Without fail, clarify and strengthen all communications with your employees.
Clearly communicate the goals and directions of the company to all employees. Discover, state explicitly and LIVE your company’s core values, with their input. Establish daily and weekly huddles for each work group.
2. Make sure people know what’s expected of them at work.
Generate clear roles, rules and responsibilities for all team members. Reward and knowledge team performance at company meetings.
3. Solicit opinions daily.
People want to know they count. They DO count. Here's a tip: Especially with new employees ask frequently: "What do you need that you don't have?" "What do you not know that you need to know?" and "What can I do to help?"
4. Assessing employee engagement.
While informal feedback is essential, go farther. Commit to an all employee survey annually. Establish hard number metrics that you can work to improve in subsequent surveys. (See our Performance Insights™ program for one.)
Caution: don’t bother unless you intend to take action based on what you find. People will become cynical when they give feedback that is ignored.
Tell them the truth even when the facts are brutal. People want to feel they’re on the “inside” so let them in.
Lack of Staff Buy-In will inhibit your growth trajectory. The fixes while not hard, do require your commitment to taking action. The pay-off though is huge.
According to Gallup, companies in the World Class on performance have two-thirds of their people engaged. Again, that’s versus only one third on average companies. It’s been shown repeatedly that having your people committed is a competitive advantage. Don't be average. Make staff buy-in a strength at your company.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DOING YOUR OWN EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SURVEY