There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow.

~Jack Welch

Having staff engagement is so important for every business. It is critical for your profitability and customer service. Highly engaged employees are more committed to your business, its goals and its success. In short, they are better employees.

Additionally, keeping employees engaged is a great way to increase the longevity of your staff, especially among Millennials. People tend to stay much longer at jobs where they are engaged, and this greatly reduces the cost of turnover.

Unfortunately, according to a recent study by Deloitte Consulting, only 13% of employees are highly engaged. The results of this study raise questions about why engagement is so low and how you can increase it.

The first thing you can do is ensure each employee understands how their jobs help achieve the company’s goals. Of course, you cannot simply tell them once how important they are. You must continuously tell them how their work adds value and contributes to the mission of the organization.

One of the best ways to foster a deeper level of engagement is to ensure each employee is evaluated on a regular basis so they know when they are doing a great job. In my opinion, the annual evaluation is one of the worst things ever invented. I just feel that they are ineffective.

Too often, what should be an evaluation of the entire year becomes more like an evaluation of the last two weeks. Plus, who can really wait a whole year to find out they are not living up to their boss’ expectations?

For these reasons, I recommend businesses adopt a more frequent system of evaluations. Evaluations should be completed monthly, at the very least, but more frequently is even better.

Deloitte, Accenture and Adobe are three major companies that have replaced annual evaluations with systems that provide continuous feedback on performance throughout the year. All businesses need to move in this direction.

Finally, you can help increase engagement by making sure your staff feels like they have a voice in the management of the organization. Employees—especially Millennials—need to feel as if their voices are heard and their opinions are valued. You can accomplish this by asking staff about critical decisions you are facing. This really does help foster engagement and empowerment among your staff.

Now go out and conduct an objective analysis of your employee engagement, then develop a plan to improve it.

You can do this!

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Jerry Osteryoung
Jerry Osteryoung is a consultant to businesses—he has directly assisted over 3,000 firms. He is the Jim Moran Professor of Entrepreneurship (Emeritus) and Professor of Finance (Emeritus) at Florida State University. He was the founding Executive Director of the Jim Moran Institute and served in that position from 1995 through 2008. His latest book, coauthored with Tim O’Brien, “If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book,” is a bestseller on Amazon. Email Jerry @ jerry.osteryoung@gmail.com

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