Engaging employees

When a business owner thinks
about losses in productivity
and/or revenue, the usual suspects always come up — security
breaches, changing market conditions,
the economy, etc.

One thing owners may not consider,
however, is a disengaged work force. But,
according to Jessica Galardini, the president and COO of JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice, a
disengaged work force can be a company’s death knell if not properly handled.

“The investment we make to attract,
retain and develop talented employees is
significant and only promises to remain
as a top expense,” Galardini says. “When
we recognize and prioritize this cost as
an opportunity and we access resources
for outside-the-box benefits thinking, we
can advance our employees and objectives rapidly.”

If workplace engagement is not a part
of the benefits your company makes
available to employees, then it should
be. According to findings from the annual Towers Perrin Global Workforce
Study, which surveyed approximately
90,000 individuals, it is a model to
absolutely include in the strategic planning process for your employee benefits
package. Without it, your company
could be plagued with unhappy and
unmotivated employees.

Smart Business spoke with Galardini
about workplace engagement, how to
implement it and why doing so is so

What is workplace engagement?

Workplace engagement begins with an
employer who genuinely has care and
concern for his or her employees. It is
simply not enough to just say you care or
to know independently that you do.
Employees need to actually see your
concern for them demonstrated, and
they need to feel it constantly. Employers who truly care will want their
employees to benefit from the company.

How does an employer demonstrate care
and concern?

The best place to begin is by listening
and asking questions. The employer
working toward achieving an engaged
work force must have open and non-threatening communication channels
that apply to everyone in all positions. It
is equally as important to show gratitude, exercise flexibility and provide
meaningful experiences for every individual to do something that is special
and contributory to the objectives. A
professional survey to gain valuable
employee feedback is a great tool and
starting point.

Why is it important to pay attention to this

Workplace engagement inspires
employees to go above and beyond.
Inspired employees who are engaged
deliver results in key areas of retention,
growth and profitability. The consequences that result from disengaged
employees can be detrimental to a company. No one strives to provide mediocre
work, so it is important to acknowledge
your employees’ potential and provide a
work environment that promotes employee engagement.

What is the best way to begin the process?

First, make the commitment to be
engaged yourself. Engagement from the
top is imperative. Next, recognize that
this is not a one-person process. You
need to form a team that includes your
senior management and supervisors, the
elite performers among your work force
who demonstrate good citizenship and
who you see as already engaged, and a
professional consultant who can guide
the team and objectively measure expectations and results.

What are some of the behaviors of an
engaged employee?

Engaged employees invariably speak
positively about the company to coworkers, potential employees and
clients, and they are genuinely proud of
the company and its accomplishments
and values.

What are the risks of not having an engaged
work force?

Without engagement, a workplace can
quickly suffer through high employee
turnover, decreased productivity, lost
training dollars and diminished morale.
Smart leaders who develop and nurture
workplace engagement will achieve an
unrivaled work force of inspired employees who deliver exceptional work and
who value constructive feedback, mentoring and accountability.

JESSICA GALARDINI is the president and COO of JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice. Reach her at
(412) 456-7231 or [email protected].