This article is written by Hillik Nissani, a seasoned global marketing & strategy consultant, as well as executive coach with a proven track record of over 25 years across 5 continents in both B2B and B2C with a strong technology background. He is currently a non-executive director on TechFinancials and sits on advisory boards of a few other high-tech companies.
Raise your hand if you haven’t heard the phrase – “Our employees are our most important asset.” I don’t see any hands out there. And no, not because this is an online blog. It is because this is one of the most used management clichés ever.
Well, despite the fact that most CEOs and leaders will say that their success and the success of their teams stem from the fact that they have the ‘best team’ and ‘best people’, research into the field of “employees engagement” paints a very gloomy picture.
Gallup, a leading American research firm, publishes a monthly report tracking employees’ engagement. The survey classifies employee’s engagement into three levels – engaged, not engaged and actively disengaged (which means that these employees are actively sabotaging the company).
Engagement is primarily driven by how the company leaders – from team leaders to line managers manage people.
The US, which leads the world in management theories, research and practices, is a great candidate to lead the world in engagement rates, right? Maybe they are the best, but even there, the current rate is an amazing 32%. Let me translate that to you – only a third of the employees are truly engaged.
If you think that other countries are better – think again. Germany – only 15% are engaged. 70% are not engaged and 15% are actively disengaged.
It’s evident that most managers aren’t creating environments in which employees feel motivated. That lack of motivation has significant implications for businesses.
Most CEOs and senior executives often wonder – How do I translate my well-defined strategy or plan into execution and results? How do I get my employees to follow through and make things happen?
The management team can come up with the best company strategy, best brand, best go to market plan and still – the company can fail miserably. One of the main reasons for execution failure is the level of the employees’ engagement.
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The Relevancy for Our Industry
There are some common characteristics when you look at our industry.
I am sure that you all agree that the employees’ turnover in our extremely competitive environment is relatively higher than other industries – to begin with.
Some additional characteristics include:
- High turnover leads to many promotions of relatively inexperienced workers to management roles without proper training and mentoring.
- Multicultural working environments mean that there are a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunication leading to frustration, conflicts and friction.
- High pressure on employees to ‘deliver the goods’ or ‘take a hike’.
- The increasing number of millennials (Generation Y in their common name). Younger employees are known to ‘march to the beat of a different drum’.
All the issues above add to the regular challenges of managing Human Capital and make it extremely tough to keep employees engaged.
A Few Words on Millennials
According to whatis.com definition, “Millennials grew up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online and socially-networked world. They are the generation that has received the most marketing attention. As the most ethnically diverse generation, Millennials tend to be tolerant of difference.
Having rose under the mantra “follow your dreams” and being told they were special they tend to be confident. While largely a positive trait, the millennial generation’s confidence has been argued to spill over into the realms of entitlement and narcissism.”
They invented SELFIEs… need I say more?
Well, I argue that any manager who tries to apply common management theories on such workers is not going to get far.
I am sure most readers who manage or lead employees might feel tempted to think that this is not the case with their own team and some of them are right. But be honest for a second – How can you really tell? And if you are bold enough to admit that there is room for improvement, then what do you about it?
How can companies improve their employees’ engagement?
If you want my take on it, wait for my next blog, which is coming soon.