The Engaged Workforce: Who is Responsible?

By Pat HeydlauffPat Heydlauff

Walt Disney once said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” He understood perfectly whose responsibility engagement was – it was his. He was a hands-on leader, personally involved and engaged with his workforce.

Engagement is a leadership necessity. Once hired, it is leadership’s responsibility not Human Resource’s to keep employees engaged. When the leader of an organization is not engaged on a regular basis, trust and productivity rapidly erode. According to recent research being truthful and connected are huge factors in engaging, maintaining and increasing workforce productivity and loyalty. When a leader is totally involved and committed to an engaged workforce, everyone’s efficiency and productivity improves and profitability increases.

Where Engagement Begins: Experts often say engagement comes from the top down and permeates the workforce. Others say no, it’s a bottom up process. The answer is – it is both and then some. Engagement comes from inside out. If it only comes from the top down all you need is one mid-level leader to drop the ball and the game is lost. If it begins at the bottom, as soon as a member of the workforce runs into resistance from their management the chain is also broken.

There is a natural flow to the engagement of the workforce and it must flow from the inside out – from the heart and soul of an organization to the workforce in order to permeate it. It doesn’t matter if your business is a three-person accounting firm or a Fortune 500 organization, the natural flow of engagement is the same.

Engagement begins with a decision within the core operating culture of a business to make an engaged workforce a top priority. If not created at this level, the results will be mediocre at best with average productivity and reduced profitability instead of exceptional productivity and increased profitability.

The Flow of Engagement: Engagement flows through the workforce in a circular movement, not linear. When leadership at all levels becomes engaged with their workforce, productivity continues as is. When the workforce is in return engaged with leadership, productivity skyrockets.

Understanding that this is a circular flow is critical to successfully creating a workforce that is focused on the best interests of the business or organization.

What’s Next?

Get into the game by recognizing the need for creating an engaged workforce, discovering where it begins and how it works. Create a leadership roadmap that includes developing, promoting and participating in a full-time circular engagement program.

Crunch the numbers to see how much your productivity will increase with a more engaged workforce. Recently released research by Gallup shows that only 33% of the surveyed workforce is engaged in what you want and 49% are disengaged. Even worse, 18% of the workforce is actively engaged in causing failure.

Industry research analysts believe that up to 95% of employees are unaware of their company’s top objectives. Without understanding how important their contribution is to the company’s overall goal and what role their contribution plays, they will disengage, missing deadlines, dropping production levels and negatively affecting profits.

It will be obvious when you crunch the numbers; even a slight increase in the engagement of your workforce will yield significantly increased productivity.

Schedule Road mapping time to unleash the potential of an engaged workforce. If you do not plan to succeed you are by default planning to fail. Evaluate the circular flow of engagement energy in your workforce to see where it needs improvement. If you don’t have an obvious flow to the engaged energy of your workforce, create a roadmap to get your there. Then, take action and make it happen. Start today.

Walt Disney’s legacy lives on because he knew he was responsible for the engagement of his workforce and took an active role in creating the future he envisioned. The circular flow of engagement is evident in every aspect of the Disney Empire and was one of his success strategies — a strategy you can apply to create the results you envision.

Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.

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About editor

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan shares his passion for life and faith through words. Peter DeHaan’s website (www.peterdehaan.com) contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages.

Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., (www.peterdehaanpublishing.com) the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly.