Increasing Employee Engagement One “Thank You” at a Time

Robin Stuart-Kotze recently discussed the cost of employee disengagement in the UK in her Bnet article “Whatever…Why Employees Stop Caring about Work.”

Stuart-Kotze reports on recent UK civil service engagement results:
* 12 per cent of UK public sector workers are highly engaged; 22 per cent are disengaged
* 84 per cent of highly engaged public sector workers in the UK believe they can have an impact on the quality of the organisation’s work — compared to about one-quarter of disengaged workers.
* Engaged employees generate 43 per cent more revenue than disengaged ones.

I particularly appreciate her comment:
“We know what most people want: they want to feel valued. They want their contribution to be recognized. One of the consequences of not feeling valued or not being recognized is that people withdraw and do less and less.

“This has a major impact on an organization, lowering morale and productivity, draining resources, and blocking performance. It is also infectious — negative behaviour has a multiplier effect on the behaviour of others.”

This parallels exactly with our findings working with our clients. It really is as simple as showing appreciation – saying “thank you.” Just as negative behaviour is infectious, so is positive behaviour, but it requires effort to change company culture to one of appreciation. Tying manager goals (MBOs/KPIs) to regular recognition targets can help to change habits.

But not just managers are responsible for recognition. All employees should be empowered to not only thank their peers, superiors and subordinates, but to do so in an easy to use system that tracks those recognitions and communicates them to all constituents.

So who is ultimately responsible for engagement at work? Both the company leadership and the employees themselves. All play a role in their own and their colleagues' engagement levels.

What are you personally doing to show appreciation for your colleagues’ efforts? What have your colleagues or managers done to show appreciation for your efforts? Share your stories in comments.

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