The folks at Gallup tell us that only 35 percent of managers and 30 percent of employees are engaged in their jobs.
Even scarier, about 15 percent of both groups are actively disengaged—they are completely checked out of their mission and contribution to their teams and organization. Gallup estimates the cost of this disengagement on U.S. companies at up to $400 billion in lost productivity.
Company leaders own the responsibility to make sure every associate is doing what energizes them in the pursuit of the organization’s WHY – the statement of purpose. But how do they do that? How do leaders ensure that their associates understand the system aim and where they fit into it?
What Do Associates Need?
Many organizations simply don’t empower employees to share in and deliver the company strategic objectives. Employees are treated as workhorses—voiceless resources whose only value is their ability to accomplish tasks.
In successful companies, everyone at every level understands their role and voice in achieving strategy goals. Those organizations win by recognizing associates for what they are: respected collaborators.
Where to begin with this kind of culture change? This checklist represents a good starting point in understanding what associates need to thrive:
- To be heard
- To be respected for who they are and what they can contribute
- To be a part of a collaborative and supportive team, the sum of which is greater than the parts
- To be given the opportunity to win (no one comes to work to lose)
- To be safe
- To be paid fairly for the work they do
- To have opportunities for advancement
- To have open communication and a good relationship with their supervisor – employees leave supervisors not companies
- To always have hope that when things aren’t right, they can and will improve (and that the associate has a voice in making things better)
In a recent strategy deployment roundtable, SDI partner Dan Moen relates to how his teams at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., thrived as true collaborators with a strong voice when he was CEO.
“There’s communication going both directions. The staff now begin to see where you’re trying to take the organization as a whole and why that’s important. The get to understand the decisions of the organization, but they also get to influence those decisions. It’s incredibly empowering to the associates.
It’s liberating to know that the leadership team isn’t going to make all the decisions here. We’re going to share that responsibility. We’re going to give people the ability to make changes in the organization.”
Checklists are easy. Making real changes in perspectives and processes requires much more guidance, understanding, and appropriately applied effort. To truly give associates an empowered voice in advancing the success and performance of your organization, you must establish a strong, consistent strategy deployment discipline.
Where to start? Check out these online courses from the Strategy Deployment Institute.
There are some terrific additional resources by well-known and respected business authors that discuss the path to giving associates their voice as true collaborators and contributors: