Like many Americans across the country, I spent over an hour on Tuesday waiting in line for the opportunity to have my voice heard. This provided me with plenty of time to observe those around me. One thing that stood out was that the turnout was much larger than usual, which naturally led to a much longer wait.
While many voters expressed clear displeasure at the length of the line, I was filled with a sense of pride in my community. I’m happy to live in a community full of people that care about the country and want to do their part to help improve it in whatever way they feel is appropriate. They were willing to take an hour or more out of their day and invest it in the future of our government.
If only we could get our teams to be this engaged. We’ve covered in the past the best way to measure employee engagement as well as some strategies for engaging our teams and getting them to speak up. Today I would like to cover some thoughts from the voting line that can be applied to our teams and workplaces.
I recently spoke with a friend about an issue that his organization was facing that was causing him significant frustration. They had experienced an equipment failure that caused significant downtime for their production line. In response, the leadership team demanded that all the similar parts on the line be replaced, regardless of condition.
My friend indicated that this particular part was one that could easily be inspected for wear and only be replaced if necessary. They did not typically fail without warning. If all the parts had been inspected instead of replaced, the organization could have saved the cost of the parts and weeks of work.
Unfortunately, the decision-makers were not aware of this possibility. None of the mechanics who knew the equipment shared this information. They knew it was a costly decision, but no one spoke up, not even my friend. Why?
Most people agree that one of the keys to organizational success is having an engaged workforce.
Over the years, the understanding and terminology around employee engagement has shifted. From employee satisfaction in the 1970’s and 80’s, to employee commitment, then employee engagement, and now sustained engagement.
Despite these changes in understanding, the basic approach is still the same. Use some form of employee survey to gather the opinions and thoughts of your team, develop an action plan to address deficiencies, rinse, and repeat.
Unfortunately, the results have been similarly stagnant. Despite decades of work, employees are still remarkably disengaged. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.
Why is that?