Best Work

Do you know why employees leave one company for another? There’s a saying I’m sure you’ve heard, “An employee doesn’t leave their job, they leave their boss.” Well according to Gallup, that doesn’t even rank in the top 5 answers by 31 million respondents as listed in the State of the American Workplace report. Here’s the criteria that made the cut:

Gallup found that employees make decisions on taking on a new role at a new company that offers them

  1. The ability to do what they do best
  2. Greater work-life balance and better personal well-being
  3. Greater stability and job security
  4. A significant increase in income
  5. The opportunity to work for a company with a great brand or reputation

Let’s look more closely at the most popular response, “Having the ability to do what I do best”, which is what Gallup also found to be one of the top 12 elements of engagement. Like the other 11, this is an element worth addressing, as only 40% of employees strongly agree that when they’re at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day, according to Gallup’s numbers. I’m going to conclude then that 60% of our workforce is not doing their best because their hands are tied, or they may even be in the wrong job.

We can fix this. Managers, have the conversation with your employees. Asking “Are you doing your best every day?” is clearly not the way to go, so how about asking instead “What do you need – whether from me or someone else – to continue delivering your best work?” Leaving it open-ended and giving them some time to mull it over works well. You may also want to provide them examples of what you mean, such as:

  • Do you need more support from management &/or coworkers?
  • Do you seek more autonomy on how you do your job, &/or more freedom to make decisions?
  • Do you lack resources, whether time, budget, personnel, &/or tools?

Don’t let your employees get away with “Yes, support is very important”. Are they agreeing that support is great, or are they saying they need more support? If they’re asking for more support, ask for specifics. On what projects? With what people? Which roadblocks? In what way, by attending a meeting? How often, every meeting?

Put in writing what the employee is going to do and how you’re going to help them have a greater opportunity to do their best work, every day. Check in on the progress regularly, and map that to the quality of their work and whether the employee is more satisfied with their output. If this works, you not only end up with producing better results, but a happier, more engaged employee.

Don’t forget about YOU. You’re a part of this workforce too, ya know. Are you one of the more fortunate 4 in 10 that’s given the opportunity to do your best, every day? Or are you one of the less fortunate 6 in 10 that isn’t?

What do YOU need to do, to ensure you have the ability to do your best on the job?

I hope this blog will help you tackle the third element of employee engagement. Stay tuned as I continue to count down to element 12!

If you missed the preceding articles in the Employee Engagement Series:

  1. How to Improve Employee Engagement: Start with Expectations
  2. How to Improve Employee Engagement: Focus on Productivity
Engaging Experiences