This morning as I was waiting for a personal care appointment to start, I reflected on the atmosphere of this fairly large spa chain. It is a corporate environment, for sure. Yet, there is cucumber water and calming music playing in the background. When my esthetician came to get me, I couldn’t help but ask whether the environment helped her stay calm through what is most likely the slog of her day. She admitted that there are certain days of the week when it is really hectic, and appointments run late, which can make her feel stressed. But after processing the question a few more times, she admitted that she works with good people and she is generally very satisfied with the work that she does. As she acknowledged, it is really nice to have her work be about making people more comfortable with themselves.
Studies show that as many as 70% of US employees are not engaged at work[1]. The relationship with engagement and profitability is even more startling. Estimates show that disengagement costs American employers over $500 billion per year. Clearly having spa music in the background isn’t going to work in most office spaces. Yet, there are a few things you can do to help your office and, more importantly, your bottom line:
  • Only 40% of today’s workforce knows their company’s goals and objectives. Make sure that your employees understand what the bigger goal is for the quarter or year. But also ensure that the employee knows what his or her department goals are. Too many may appreciate that certain revenue or targets are necessary, but don’t think they are responsible for any part of it. Help them connect the dots.
  • 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week. Too much is being written about annual reviews not being effective. But what is more important is what type of feedback is given and how regularly. Ensure that your team understands what went right just as much as they know what could use improvement. Hearing what works will help everyone continue doing the right things. But be careful that the feedback isn’t too scripted. Being genuine and attentive to how someone takes feedback will make or break the team. (we’ll write more about this in a different post).
  • 90% of leaders think that an engagement strategy is a good idea, however less than 25% of them have one. Take an hour to sit as a leadership team to develop a culture strategy for your organization. Having the requirements drafted will help everyone follow suit.
So, what environment will you create to engage your employees throughout the day? How will you ensure that your employees don’t dread their alarm clock each morning?

[1] Gallup. http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx

[2] Bain. http://www.bain.com/about/people-and-values/our-team/profiles/chris-zook.aspx

[3]Towers Watson. http://www.towerswatson.com

[4] ACCOR. http://www.dalecarnegie.com/white-papers/organizational-engagement/