Employee Empowerment Is The Key to Better Productivity

The Real Cost of Disengaged Employees

Revealing figures show that disengaged employees cost the UK £52-£70 Billion in lost productivity.

UK productivity alone looks rather bleak right now with the ONS telling us output is looking lacklustre and we take a look at why increasing employee engagement (also referred to as Employee Empowerment) could be the greatest competitive edge an organisation can have.

Our previous Blog takes a look at how the UK can address that productivity gap.

Employee Empowerment Is The Key to Better Productivity

Statistics shared by Gallup recently, show that Globally, just 15% of employees are engaged in their job!

That means that a staggering 85% are either not engaged (67%) or actively disengaged (18%).

Looking at Western Europe in comparison, the figures aren’t too dissimilar with 10% engaged, 71% not engaged and 19% actively disengaged.

What are the signs of a disengaged employee?

The starting point is to first identify a disengaged employee before you can start to put procedures in place to increase engagement or empowerment.

  1. No initiative: Your employee has little to contribute at team meetings and doesn’t seem willing to generate new ideas or share independent learnings.
  2. Not hitting targets: Poor performance and consistently missing targets are clear indicators that your employee is not invested in the growth of the business or their own career within the company.
  3. Unhealthy activities: Frequent cigarette breaks, long lunches, and multiple kitchen and bathroom trips are all signs of someone who doesn’t want to be in the office anymore.
  4. Bad attitude: This includes complaining, not wanting to help others, being anti-social at work and displaying an unwillingness to get involved in company activities.

How do you re-engage a disengaged employee?

We take a look at six ways of increasing empowerment to increase productivity. These ways are really important because of the following key results. Empowered employees are more likely to:

  • Go the extra mile – they will want to do more for little return.
  • Follow best practices – they will want to ensure the best results.
  • Be more productive – their output will be greater in the same time period.
  • Have good communication – they will speak to colleagues and line managers with respect and thoughtfulness.
  • Embrace change – they will be open to trying new things.
  • Have a “can do” attitude – they will be much more positive.
  • Provide better customer service – the most important one, in our opinion because the customer needs to feel valued and important.

Six Ways To Increase Empowerment

  1. Openness to new ideas: often when an employee suggests a new idea, it is greeted with either “I’ll take it on board” or “If I wanted your opinion I’d have asked for it”.

The first response knowing full well they never do anything with the idea but pretending to care and the second one obviously not valuing the opinion or idea.

People will have some awful ideas, but some will have amazing new ways of working but making sure that every idea is listened to respectfully and in turn will increase empowerment;

  1. Developing Others: If the employees never have any new ideas then it may mean that they lack the necessary skills, knowledge or expertise. Investing in their development would suggest to them and others that they are a valued member of the team;
  2. Supportive and Trusted Manager: Having a manger they could trust, having someone that ‘has their back’ and supported them would make them feel more empowered. A manager must have that two-way communication and be willing to embrace change to increase engagement;
  3. Recognition, rewards and encouragement: There will be numerous companies out there that fail to reward good work. Some fail to see the bigger picture and pick flies at mistakes. To get the best out of people, there has to be encouragement and a ‘tap on the back’ or a ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’. Employees are more willing to make more of an effort if it is acknowledged in some way;
  4. Positive work environment: You know how the saying goes, ‘positivity breeds positivity’. Leaders need to identify that they themselves need to talk in a way that encourages. A negative environment can spread like wildfire. One passing resentful remark can grow through the workforce and create that ‘finger pointing’ and ‘back-stabbing’ culture;
  5. Giving team members authority: Giving a team member the responsibility to make decisions without the fear of being overruled they will engage more and feel empowered. Not everyone can have this authority, but leaders need to identify skilled and knowledgeable staff to be able to give them this authority.The more control employees have over their work, the more output and empowerment is created;The diagram below from the Gallup report shows what the impact of empowered staff can do to your business:

Encouragingly, according to the report, the Global percentage of actively disengaged employees has decreased significantly since 2009 from 26% to 17% in 2016.

We do know that there is a lot we can do as businesses and it must be put high on the agenda to address but we can take heart with the fact that figures are going in the right direction.

The mission, is to first of all find the right skilled employees for the job, then engaging them through empowerment to retain them for the long term so that productivity is to be maximised. Ensuring that the leadership team in place are the ones that will drive your vision forward.

A happy, engaged employee is a positive, productive, trusted and loyal employee.

Have you been a disengaged employee? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

Let us know if you’re a business and you have a successful blueprint for successful engagement.