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In Gallup’s most recent State of American Workplace Report, they indicate that only one-third of the American workforce is actively engaged in the organization that employs them. An even more alarming result of the study found that 51% of employees are actively looking for a new job. This means that in the average company, a significant proportion of the workforce is not only underperforming, but they are looking to leave the organization for better opportunities. People might be quick to assume that generational differences or a lack of buy-in is to blame for the results of this report but they would be wrong.
From a behavioral science perspective, organizations are perfect systems for producing the exact results they achieve. This is true for business metrics and equally true for the company culture. The processes, systems, and management practices organizations have either purposefully designed or defaulted into, create what the company culture looks, sounds and feels like. So, why do some companies have a highly engaged workforce and others find a workforce that is unmotivated and ready to leave? The answer is in how the company attempts to motivate employee behavior. People respond (or behave) according to the systems within which they are placed.
One important finding in the survey is that how leaders manage performance is tightly linked to how engaged the workforce will be. The potential problem with this is that many companies fail to teach leaders how to properly influence behavior. In some cases, people promoted to leadership positions are left with performance gaps and a reliance on how they were managed in the past, which may or may not be what motivates others to be fully engaged. Instead, companies that want to purposefully create an engaged culture must provide leaders with the knowledge, tools and resources to be effective coaches.
What does it mean to be an effective coach? Coaches are held accountable for the success of their team and therefore look to align company success with employee success. Here are nine things leaders at all levels can do to move from managing to coaching employees:
If organizations want an engaged workforce, leaders must be trained in understanding and applying the principles of behavioral science. Organizations must also hold them accountable for producing results the right way. America’s workforce is telling companies what they are looking for out of their leaders. The question is; is your organization willing to listen and do something to support its leaders in earning the trust and engagement of their employees?
© Aubrey Daniels International, Inc. All rights reserved. 2021