As everyone knows, having a critical mass of people fully engaged at work lies at the heart of breakthrough performance.

What is not well known is that the people you work with may be less engaged than you might expect.

This calls for attention—first to the facts of the situation—and then to creating a new culture that inspires people’s best. Where do you begin this work?

Let’s start with the statistics.

Did you know that:

  • 72% of employees in the US are “not engaged” at work? (Gallup, October 2013)

What does this actually mean? It means that these “disengaged” co-workers are unmotivated and less likely to invest extra energy in their company’s goals and outcomes.

  • In addition, a full 18% of those not engaged are in fact “actively disengaged.” (Gallup, October 2013)

This segment is not only unproductive and not happy at work—they are also more likely to spread a sense of negativity amongst their co-workers. (Gallup, October 2013)

Creating breakthrough performance so that employees are truly engaged begins with a powerful insight into your people’s current level of participation—even when that level is low.

It takes unwavering commitment from leadership to expand people’s sense of contribution, their connection to you and the company’s vision and goals.

When such commitment is focused on a creating a culture where people see the purpose of what they are doing as worthwhile, the steps forward become clear.

Now let’s look at the opportunities of increasing engagement: 

  • Companies with high employee engagement have an average of 2.5 times the annual net income as those with lower levels of engagement. (Hay Group)
  • Employees that are engaged are 87% less likely to leave. (Corporate Leadership Council)
  • 90% of leaders think that having an engagement strategy will have a positive impact, but less than 25% actually do have a strategy. (Dale Carnegie)

The good news is that as a transformational leader, by creating and implementing a strategy for engagement, you have direct access to building a high performance culture.

When inspiring a culture of truly engaged employees is part of your strategy, and those people create that strategy with you, the foundation for breakthrough performance has begun.

Structuring in regular communication as part of management’s style and developing their capability to communicate is also central.

  • 43% of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week vs. only 18% of those who are less engaged. (Towers Watson)

Expanding people’s level of engagement is an investment in the future that can turn the tide of an entire culture.

What have you done or experienced that worked and what hasn’t worked to move low engagement to a breakthrough level?

COMING NEXT: PART 2 of this blog will highlight some keys to breakthrough performance for employee engagement and a great success story for inspiration!

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