A place to discuss the principles of High Performance Organizations and interact with other professionals who have been successful in implementing HPO principles, or are seeking to, in their organizations
The High Cost of Unmotivated and Incompetent Employees
February 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm #122867
Original post by Greg Smith at Chartcourse.com …
Can You Afford Employees Who Are Unmotivated and Incompetent?
Motivated and Engaged Employees Generate Powerful Results
One of the biggest issues facing many businesses is how to motivate and keep workers engaged with their jobs. Employee engagement goes hand in hand with high job satisfaction, lower employee turnover and better productivity.
Employee Engagement Definition
Our definition of employee engagement is the employee’s connection to the work, the organization, their customers, the leaders and the connections they have with their co-workers. Engaged employees stay with their employers, have higher levels of job satisfaction and make significant contributions. Employee engagement is not optional, but an essential requirement to achieve organizational results.
A 2010 survey conducted by the Conference Board showed only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work. This is the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board in more than 22 years of research. Businesses that fail to improve job satisfaction not only risk losing their high performers when the economy improves, but it is way more expensive to keep unmotivated and no longer competent workers. A large percentage of unhappy employees are staying just for a paycheck. As a result, many organizations are hamstrung with employees who are only performing at a minimal level. Instead of taking action, they accept it as a matter-of-fact. What a pity.
When working with business owners and executives, it is sometimes useful to put a dollar figure on what disengagement is costing their business. To do this, I ask them to participate in a simple exercise. I give them a piece of paper and they draw a square with four quadrants. Then they divide and place a percentage of their workforce into each of the four quadrants.
For the sake of brevity, I will just cover the first two. The first one is the engaged and competent quadrant. We want to see a big number in that square, but rarely does that percent exceed 30%. The second quadrant is called, unmotivated and incompetent. These people were once motivated, but for some reason they changed. I then ask them to put the number/percent of their workforce in this section. Sometimes they even put names of people inside that square. The next step is to take that number and multiply it by their average salary. Now the cost of disengagement becomes a painful reality. We go through the next two quadrants asking several more questions. This is not a motivational exercise for most people, but it does create a powerful discussion.
How do we fix it? How do you transform people into engaged and competent employees? You have to spend the time to find out why. “Feel good” programs usually don’t help and can even make the problem worse. Taking the wrong action can end up costing you even more money. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Here are a few questions you can ask to determine how well your organization is engaging employees:
1. Do employees feel what they are doing is important? Are they connected to the organization’s goals and mission?
2. Do employees understand their role? Do they know what goals and objectives are required from them?
3. Are there special development programs for top performers? Are they recognized and rewarded for their actions?
4. Do employees feel as if they are advancing in their careers? Are they growing, developing and improving themselves?
5. Are employees getting frequent and regular informal feedback on their performance? Do they get it more than once a year?
6. Does the employee have a good relationship with his immediate supervisor?
7. Does the organization have strong values, a compelling vision and inspirational leadership?
8. Are employees talents matched with their jobs? Does your organization do a good job hiring the right people?
Find out how your organization ranks with our employee engagement survey tool. Call 770-860-9464 or fill out our contact form on Chartcourse.com.
February 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm #122874
According to Hay Group’s extensive research on employee engagement across industries, engagement PLUS enablement gives the biggest return in employee performance, retention, customer satisfaction and financial success. For example, an organization with highly engaged employees can expect a reduction in turnover by 40%. For those with highly engaged and enabled employees, it’s more like 50%. From a customer satisfaction perspective, which I think would be important for a number of public facing agencies, highly engaged employees resulted in a customer sat rate of 71%, but highly engaged and enabled employees resulted in customer sat rates of 89%.
I’m glad that this was started as a post in the High Performance Organizations group because there is a STRONG business case for measuring employee engagement. However, the employee viewpoint survey doesn’t do a lot to measure engagement — it mostly measures employee satisfaction, which is different. There is a small correlation between employee “happiness” and performance, but not as strong as the correlation between engagement and performance.
February 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm #122872
Thanks for adding those references and figures to the conversation, Erin. You would think that these facts would be more obvious than they appear to be in some organizations.
February 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm #122869
This is actually a journal article that appeared in the Journal of Compensation and Benefits, but really speaks to engagement and enablement in broader terms, insofar as implications on performance. Enjoy!
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