Utilizing Employee Engagement to Improve Your Business

Utilizing Employee Engagement to Improve Your Business

Article By: by John Lisowski, Senior Commercial Relationship Manager, Market President - River Falls

 Synapsis taken from The Truth About Employee Engagement by Patrick Lencioni.

Many, if not all, business owners strive and search for ways to make their businesses better. They want more clients, more market share, more sales, and more income. Often, this will lead those owners and entrepreneurs to work on product development, production efficiency, marketing efforts, etc. But have they overlooked their greatness strength - their employees? Should focus be put on whether their employees are valued, understood, appreciated, and engaged in their work and workplace?

The author Patrick Lencioni deftly tackles this subject in his book, "The Truth About Employee Engagement."  Lencioni, as is his pattern with most of his books, authored this book in two parts.  The first part is a fable that illustrates how employee engagement, in its many forms, can revitalize and invigorate an organization. The second section dives into the other side of employee engagement using a term called job misery.

The intention is to highlight the causes of, and remedies for, job misery. According to Lencioni, there are three factors that are incorporated in job misery:  irrelevance, anonymity, and immeasurement. Each of these three factors weigh heavily in creating disengagement with employees. Knowing the root causes of disengagement will help as you work towards solutions to these issues.

1.  Irrelevance is simply the feeling that what you do does not matter. There is loss of connection between an employee's efforts and its positive value to the organization. This manifests in a lack of purpose or shared goals. No one is immune from irrelevance. Lencioni points out that even entertainers, actors, and athletes often have unsatisfied lives. Their value is often only seen as a whether a game is won or lost, a movie sells big or not, not to the overall contribution these single events would have to long term success of an organization.

2.  Anonymity would seem to be self-explanatory. This is a feeling of being unnoticed, invisible, and ultimately underappreciated and undervalued. This condition seemed to worsen during COVID-19 as a mass of employees worked shifted to working remotely. This created a lack of sense of a lack  of connection to team or camaraderie. The pitfalls become lack of productivity and poor morale.

3. Immeasurement seems like a made-up word. Lencioni uses the term to describe the idea that employees need to have a way to track progress. They need to measure success and failures in their jobs. The lack of these items is Immeasurement. Lencioni discusses this source of job misery as not only as organizational goals but also personal goals. He suggests that personal and organizational goals can be linked by the individual.

Irrelevance, anonymity, and immeasurement in a workplace are root causes for disengagement. Disengagement drives costly turnover and negatively affects productivity and ultimately fiscal success for employers. If these three factors are the sources for job misery, what are the solutions? The author provides three seemingly common-sense suggestions:  purpose, care and proof.

1. Purpose is the concept that what an employee does matters and has meaning. Some describe this idea as knowing 'the why' of what an employee does. Providing and understanding purpose enforces that an employee is needed and has a connection to a greater good. Even if the purpose to support only one person or task, that purpose is meaningful. Without purpose employees can feel irrelevant. And no amount of money, or notoriety can fix irrelevance.

2.  Care, or showing that you care seems like a simple concept. Effectively, managers need to get to know their team members personally. This involves getting to know them outside of work, take interest in their interests and know a few details about the people that are close to the employees. This is accomplished through regular one-on-one meetings, active listening, and general curiosity. It also requires finding a comfort between manager and employee.

3.  Proof is essentially providing a means to show progress towards a goal. A measure of how well an employee is doing. Whatever is being measured must be relevant and easily understood, as well as being something that your employee can directly affect. Quality measurements can be overall profitability of the business, to the number of smiles from a client that an employee can extend.

By working one on one with individual employees, a quality manager can easily and readily create a culture where employees can recognize that they have a purpose, that someone at the company cares, and that what they do can have proof of tangible and measurable affects. If all three of these items are properly fostered and managed, the result should be increased productivity, reduced turnover, and a more pleasing culture. 

For more information about the book 'The Truth About Employee Engagement', the author, or his other works please go to www.tablegroup.com. 

As a senior commercial relationship manager, John Lisowski has more than 30 years of banking experience, primarily with community banks. John uses his expertise to assist SFB business clients with commercial loans, working capital financing, and small business financing including a variety of Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. He specializes in business acquisition financing, succession financing and financing for insurance agencies. Contact John at 715.629.4077 or jlisowski@sfbank.com.