It is also interesting to note that companies that have highly engaged employees also tend to have one thing in common. They have highly engaged leadership at all levels of the organization. This translates into a strong base of employees who feel a sense of pride and belonging to their company and in their role. There is a sense of alignment around the vision, mission and purpose of the company.
Today enterprises across all lines of business are struggling with the challenges of a multi-generational workforce while in a war for talent. This should be no surprise considering that Jim Clifton, Chairman of the Gallop Organization famous for their regular employee engagement surveys, wrote the book on the subject over five years ago—The Coming Jobs War. Based on survey results, Clifton asserts that what everyone in the world wants is a good job. He says, “This is one of the most important discoveries Gallup has ever made.” The question is how you give people good jobs. It must begin with senior leadership who has a clearly expressed compelling vision. It then becomes the responsibility of managers and team leaders to assure that members of their teams are in alignment and prepared to execute. This is where the formula breaks down.
Employees don’t quit companies. They quit managers. In fact, engagement surveys reveal that on average over 70% of the workforce is disengaged—these employees have actually quit but are still on the payroll. Clifton and others have stated in very bold terms that the engagement and turnover problem will not improve until business leaders get rid of “bad managers” [Clifton’s words]. The solutions to the problem are evident but quick fixes are not the answer. The huge amounts of money spent on leadership development have had little impact. However, I am still optimistic after forty years in the leadership and talent development business.
What are the excuses for overlooking or ignoring the executive team’s engagement level? Many believe that delegating the responsibility for creating and sustaining employee engagement to Human Resources is one of the most common errors CEOs make. Imagine the results if the engagement of an organization’s executive team became the starting point? What will it take? CEOs must accept the improvement in employee engagement is a leadership issue and consider it a high priority. This means members of the senior team must be fully engaged top talent in their respective roles.
The next level of leadership should then be given the attention it deserves with adequate resources to fully developing the talent within their areas of responsibility. This includes providing mentoring and coaching, which has become a requirement to attract and retain top talent particularly millennials. The senior team must be willing to hold all leaders reporting to them accountable to follow-through on these initiatives.
In summary, I recommend assessing the leadership effectiveness of the senior team first. Then make sure the right leaders with the right skills are in the right positions throughout the organization. Routinely conduct a leadership audit using a credible 360-type assessment. I strongly recommend a highly effective leadership assessment known as the Work of Leaders. Imagine what your organization could become if leaders at all levels understands and utilizes best-practices for Creating a Vision, Assuring Alignment and Championing Execution—the work of leaders.
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Make an executive decision to improve the work of leaders skills of all leaders in your company. Click on the following link to view a short 2 1/2 minute video about this powerful leadership development process:
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