10 Keys to Winning the Game of Employee Engagement

Tying employee engagement to business success is a relatively modern phenomenon, but one that is receiving increasing buy-in because it increases productivity which leads to customer services which leads to profitability. As companies like Gallup continue evolving the science of employee engagement data, they’ve found two clear reasons why most engagement programs fail (only 33% of the U.S. workforce is engaged):

  • Employee engagement must be about manager education and development, not simply about measurement. This ongoing training must be about methods in which manager can increase engagement with their teams.
  • Companies must be more selective in whom they choose to serve as managers. Neither success at a lower level nor time at the company qualify someone to be a manager. According to Gallup, only 10% of people are naturally wired to be strong leaders, while some others are teachable; however, companies only hire the appropriate talent 18% of the time. This can be improved through psychological assessment, better interview questions and other means, Gallup reported.

So, what do companies need to do to improve employee engagement? Officevibe, an employee engagement software company, released a report on the "State of Employee Engagement." The survey comprises more than 1.2M data points right now (the report updates in real time) encompassing more than a thousand organizations in more than 150 countries.


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Officevibe data suggest the following key areas of focus for employee engagement:

1. Recognition. 63% of employees responded they don't receive enough acknowledgement of their hard work. Research firm Deloitte found that companies with recognition programs experienced a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate. Additionally, 58% of executives Deloitte surveyed believed their current performance management methods were not conducive to employee engagement nor improved performance. Turnover is expensive and, as we previously wrote, engaged employees are difficult to find. Officevibe found that 72% of employees receive praise less than once a week. In fact, Deloitte uses a weekly feedback loop system.

2. Feedback. 32% of employees wait more than three months for feedback from their manager. Nearly all of those in the survey (96%) took regular feedback as a positive, and 83% appreciate receiving positive or negative feedback. 62% said they wished they would get feedback from their colleagues as well. But 64% said the quality of the feedback matters, too, even more than the frequency. Generating a culture of constant feedback from all levels invigorates everyone to help everyone else do better for the team.

3. Happiness. 23% of employees leave work feeling drained every day. More are unhappy at work (29%) than those that are happy (27%). 45% reported ambivalence. Taking an interest in employees’ personal lives, without getting too personal, shows you care and their happiness outside of work will have a positive effect on their happiness at work. 26% reported not being happy outside of work either.

Sounding too familiar? Click here to learn how gameFI can help.

4. Personal growth. 56% of employees don’t believe they have advancement opportunities. 39% of employees feel they aren’t given enough autonomy. At the same time, more than half said their skills haven’t improved significantly in the last year. Officevibe said employees aren’t given enough growth opportunities.

5. Satisfaction. 15% responded that they don’t see themselves working at the same company in a year, while another 20% were concerned about being terminated in the next 3-6 months. Nearly one-third said they don’t receive fair pay for their work and half were dissatisfied with the benefits package offered. But even more acutely, 72% of employees feel they are not provided clear goals, which hurts morale.

6. Wellness. 60% of employees responded their job was negatively affecting their personal life. 47% of employees are stressed at work, and that bleeds into their personal lives. And they’re overworked: 32% said they often take work home to complete and another 37% answered they sometimes do.

7. Ambassadorship. 57% of employees would NOT recommend their organization as a good place to work! Employees were more likely to recommend their company’s product or service (40 Net Promoter Score) than to recommend the organization as a good place to work (23 employee Net Promoter Score).

8. Relationships with managers. 31% would like their managers to communicate more frequently with them. The lack of communication makes employees feel their managers aren’t being transparent with them (20%). Employees are dying to spend more time with their managers and become closer; 70% would like to spend more time with their managers. They don’t need to be best buds, but a strong manager relationship contributes to the employee’s feelings of transparency at and connectedness with the company.

9. Relationships with colleagues. 34% of employees don't think they have enough social interaction with their colleagues. All the stress can cause people to be mean to their colleagues, demonstrated by the stat that 40% have witnessed colleagues being mean to each other. However, enjoying your colleagues can help engagement and reduce stress. When employees are overworked, they’re often working at their desk—alone—through lunch, and missing out on socializing.

10. Company alignment. 33% of employees don't believe their company's core values align with their personal values. Companies can’t over-communicate their mission and core values. 19% of employees either don’t know or don’t understand their company’s core values. 25% don’t know or are indifferent to the company’s mission. People need to understand and be reminded why they’re doing what they’re doing.

gameFI is turning employee engagement and the review process on its head through gamification of training, reviews, sales performance and more! Click here to learn how gameFI can up your employee engagement game.

gameFI Releases "Quizzes" Feature

We are happy to announce the release of "Quizzes." Quizzes combine two of gameFI's most popular features (Tracks and Scenarios) to make sure your employees have the knowledge they need to be successful, and that your management team has the insights needed to spot coaching and training opportunities.

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Quizzes

gameFI's new Quiz feature improves employee performance by providing employees just-in-time-support they need to be successful in their monthly goals.

Quizzes package five (5) Scenarios with a Track, and is especially useful for future marketing campaigns, product introductions, and keeping up with the ever-changing regulatory market.

 

Tracks

Tracks are a set of Challenges, or specific tasks, that employees complete to earn rewards. Tracks focus employees on the tasks that are in line with your leadership team’s strategic goals.

Tracks center around a typical goal or category, such as improving member service, driving cross sell, or promoting a new product.

 

Scenarios

Scenarios are short, real-time knowledge assessments that work with existing learning management systems by promoting retention of concepts taught in more formalized courses.

On the back-end, managers can see how employees are doing across concept categories, and can analyze, adjust, and redeploy in real time.

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Radically Frequent Feedback

Very frequent check-ins (we might say radically frequent check-ins) are a team leader’s killer app.
— Reinventing Performance Management, HBR

There's a distinct trend in the annual performance review. It's not that they are dead...it's that they're not enough. Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall's Harvard Business Review "Reinventing Performance Management", suggests that what managers should be focused on is frequent, focused feedback on a regular basis:

"Our design calls for every team leader to check in with each team member once a week...If you want people to talk about how to do their best work in the near future, they need to talk often. And so far we have found in our testing a direct and measurable correlation between the frequency of these conversations and the engagement of team members. Very frequent check-ins (we might say radically frequent check-ins) are a team leader’s killer app."

Flow is gameFI's Secret Sauce

While the influences behind the gameFI platform are too many to list, it is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's extensive work on "Flow" seems to rise above all else. Helping organizations improve employee engagement, business performance, and customer satisfaction, hinges on our ability to drive feelings of optimal experience in the workplace.

But what does that mean? Optimal experience? Csikszentmihalyi describes "Flow" as eliciting the following feelings:

  1. Completely involved in what we are doing -- focused, concentrated.
  2. A sense of ecstasy, defined as "being outside everyday reality."
  3. Great inner clarity -- knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
  4. Knowing that the activity is doable -- that our skills are adequate to the task.
  5. A sense of serenity -- no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
  6. Timelessness -- thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes.
  7. Intrinsic motivation -- whatever produces flow becomes its own reward.

You can see Csikszentmihalyi's famous TED Talk below:

At gameFI, we focus employees on what matters with Leaderboards and Challenges. We help them escape the monotony of the day-to-day with Scenarios and Duels. We provide immediate feedback so employees know how they are doing on the metrics that matter. We avoid boredom and anxiety by only presenting Challenges and Scenarios that are "doable" at a player's skill level. We communicate only positive feedback to players and protect them from embarrassment with strict leaderboard rules (players can only see the 4 players below them). We introduce fun even in the most serious of industries.

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.
— Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Whether you use gameFI or not, we urge you to think about how you can apply the above attributes of "Flow" to your workplace. If you're ready to talk about how gameFI can use Feedback, Focus, and Fun to drive employee engagement, customer metrics, and business performance, let us know.