Successful Meetings - March 2009 - (Page 20)

PLANNER’S WORKSHOP management matters How to keep employees actively engaged at work The Engagement Gap By Dr. Tom McDonald ith virtually everybody uptight about our economic downturn, the big question for business leaders worldwide is how do you get people to stay engaged at work? The Global Workforce Study recently released by Towers Perrin, an HR consultancy, surveyed 90,000 employees in 118 countries to find out just how to do that. What they came up with will surprise you. First, workers are energetic, ambitious, and committed to working hard and giving their best. But turning energy, ambition, and commitment into engagement— the willingness to go the extra mile to help the business succeed—is a bit trickier. To make this happen, senior leaders need to do new and different things, especially with the financial meltdown still in play. Second, just 21 percent of those surveyed are engaged in their work. More troubling is that 38 percent are partially to fully disengaged. There is then an “engagement gap” between what companies need to succeed and what large numbers of workers around the world are willing to provide. And please remember this: Companies with the highest levels of employee engagement W (sadly that’s only the 21 percent group) achieve better financial results than companies with lower levels of engagement. Third, what can senior leaders do about this? Right off the bat, they have to let people know what’s in it for them when the company succeeds—is it salary only, recognition, reward, or Dr. Tom McDonald, a Ph.D. in psychology, speaks on “people skills” needed for “business results.” Contact him at, or 20 I SM I March 2009 I Illustration Credit: Russ Willms some kind of ownership, etc.? There are many new arrangements being worked out today, and employees want to be in on the action. Senior leaders need to be much more inspirational if they want to drive higher engagement. The power of position itself no longer works. Real power comes from the ability to influence others, and that requires getting them excited about doing great things in tough times. You can tell the difference between inspired and uninspired leaders. Question: Whom would you rather work for? Being a business leader today carries with it the highest responsibility it has almost ever had. The top driver of engagement, according to employees, both globally and in the United States, is the belief that senior management has their best interests at heart. Yet only about four out of 10 respondents believe this is true in their organizations. More than half also felt that senior management “treats us as just another part of the organization to be managed.” There’s a lot of work to be done here. Most leaders are very good at executing the operations of their position. But that no longer suffices by itself. Turning energy, ambition, and commitment into engagement (the only place where the rubber hits the road) is the number-one challenge they now face. It requires a different set of skills. Senior management must now recognize the long-term value of employees’ untapped potential and guide it in new ways that get real results in our tough business world. SM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - March 2009

Successful Meetings - March 2009
Editor's Letter
News Update
Management Matters
Meetings Law
Mouth for Sale
And the Award Goes to...
Taking Green Initiatives to the Top
Events of Presidential Proportion
It's a Small World After All
Places + Spaces
Big Island Supplement-Insert
NYC Metro
The Bahamas

Successful Meetings - March 2009

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