Thomas E. Anderson, II
Sustaining Employee and Manager Engagement
A Snapshot of Employee and Manager Engagement
Employee engagement has emerged as a worldwide problem. According to Gallup (2013), active disengagement costs the U.S. $450 to $550 billion each year. In a study of 142 countries across the globe, Gallup (2013) found that “13% of employees are engaged in their jobs, while 63% are not engaged and 24% are actively disengaged”. In the last 50 years, organizational practitioners have studied the impact of employee engagement on organizational outcomes, and organizational researchers are constantly producing new evidence linking employee engagement to well-being, work-life balance, and organizational strategy.
Engagement not only affects employees, it also impacts managers. Organizational downsizing and restructuring over the past 20 years have resulted in flatter organizational structures, ever-increasing work demands, and longer, more intense work hours for middle managers. These conditions greatly affect a manager’s ability to establish a balance between work and non-work activities. Although Gallup’s research shows that manager engagement accounts for the 70% variance in employee engagement, the responsibility to produce strategic outcomes cannot fall solely on management and executive leadership. Stakeholders should adopt shared ownership of key results, such as employee engagement and well-being.
While researchers may dispute the accuracy of employee engagement statistics, management teams recognize the value and urgency of employee engagement and organizations increasingly use employee engagement as an organizational indicator.
The New Trend in Employee Engagement
Sustaining employee engagement and inspiring employees to go the extra mile for their companies prove especially difficult during times of organization change. Managers often respond, asking employees to devote their discretionary efforts to increase productivity, improve performance and exceed the status quo. As such, unbridled effects of change can cause workplace stress and work-life conflict, while decreasing levels of employee engagement, well-being, and work-life balance. Organizational decision makers, particularly in human resources, work to minimize negative effects of change such as workplace stress and interpersonal conflict, and to increase levels of employee well-being, work-life balance and engagement.
The concept of engagement is trending towards solutions that produce internalized engaged states, or sustainable employee engagement, among organizational stakeholders. Sustainable engagement, which describes “the intensity of employees’ connection to their organization” is based on three fundamental elements:
1) Being engaged: the extent to which employees use their discretionary efforts to achieve work-related goals
2) Being enabled: the extent to which the environment supports multiple paths to productivity
3) Feeling energized: the extent to which the work experience promotes well-being
Engaged employees not only believe in their company’s goal, but also feel an emotional connection to their company and the work they perform. This connection drives them to give extra effort or go the extra mile for the company to succeed.
The need for sustainable engagement bodes well for visionary leaders, as goals and objectives are among the top five drivers of sustainable engagement. It is important that employees understand the organization’s business goals, the steps they should take to achieve the goals, and how their job contributes to goal accomplishment. An engaging culture does not simply impose goals and objectives, it also inspires and motivates employees. Vision-based leaders assemble employees, managers and other stakeholders to co-create and implement a shared vision for the company.
So you're probably asking yourself, "how can my company sustain employee engagement?"
Our Approach to Sustainable Employee Engagement
Our goal is to shape company cultures that reengage employees in a continual, sustainable and dynamic way. At Teaiiano Leadership Solutions, we assemble insights from business and leadership research to shape cultures of engagement within client organizations. We are developing research in three areas to facilitate internalized states of engagement for workers, managers and leaders:
Strategic visioning and vision development
Strategic change leadership
Read more about our solutions.
 Gallup. (2013). State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/services/176735/state-global-workplace.aspx.
 Ibid, p.7.
 Parris, M.A., Vickers, M.H., & Wilkes, L. (2008). Friendships under strain: The work personal life integration of middle managers. Community, Work & Family, 11(4), 405-418.
 Gallup, 2013.
 Crabb, S. (2011). The use of coaching principles to foster employee engagement. Coaching Psychologist, 7(1), 27-34.
 Towers Watson. (2012). Global Workforce Study: Engagement at Risk: Driving Strong Performance in a Volatile Global Environment.