Employee engagement has become a top priority for many financial advisory firms, and for good reason. Leaders of top performing firms know that an engaged, high-performing team is essential for continued growth. Highly engaged teams increase productivity, innovation, and the bottom line, while reducing costs related to employee turnover.
Wikipedia provides a straight forward definition of employee engagement, “Employee engagement is a property of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests.”
Based on the definition, are your team members engaged? Recent surveys provide us with some alarming employee engagement statistics:
- 5% of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs (Gallup)
- 70% of employees who lack confidence in the abilities of senior leadership are not fully engaged (Dale Carnegie Employee Engagement Study)
- 80% of employees dissatisfied with their direct manager are disengaged (Dale Carnegie Employee Engagement Study)
The statistics clearly tell us that addressing employee engagement problems is critical to the success of your financial advisory firm.
Define and Address Employee Engagement with Your Team
Employee engagement means different things to different firms. Before you can start to measure levels of employee engagement in your office you need to:
- Define what employee engagement means to you
- Establish a criteria measurement list
- Create a system to measure engagement levels
Employees Want Leaders to Show They Care
Choosing and evaluating the leadership in your firm is critical to employee retention rates and engagement levels. According to the Dale Carnegie Institute, “A “caring” manager is one of the most important elements that drives employee engagement.”
The report goes on to say, “That is, employees want their managers to care about their personal lives, to take an interest in them as people, to care about how they feel and support their health and well-being. A manager’s ability to build strong relationships with employees, build strong team interaction, and lead in a “person-centered” way creates an engaging environment in which employees can perform at the highest possible level.”
Boosting and Measuring Employee Engagement
Employee engagement begins with hiring the right person. Hiring managers must provide new employees with a realistic job preview, provide on-the-job training, and offer access to additional training or education as needed. Spikes in levels of employee engagement occur when these components are put in place.
You can also boost levels of employee engagement by understanding how each team member is motivated and knowing what they value. Implement an employee engagement survey into your routine processes and incorporate a “values-list.” Once values are understood, you are positioned to incorporate motivational methods to increase engagement. A well-designed survey will provide you with a quantitative measure such as a score from 1 to 10 or a percentage. Avoid placing 100% of your focus on the survey outcome by developing solutions to meet employee needs both personally and professionally.
Leading businesses in employee engagement share the following suggestions to boost engagement levels in your firm:
Gifts: Make it more than a bouquet of flowers or a gift card. Although these are nice from time to time, their sentiment wear off. Use your creativity to find a gift relating to a specific project completed by your team or an individual. The gift along with the story will be remembered and shared for years.
Money Still Matters: Study after study shows when specific behaviors are tied to a significant dollar, the behaviors are more likely to occur.
Rewards and Incentives: Incorporate other methods such as: recognition, awards for distinguished service, an extra day off, or tickets to unique event in your community.
When your team is aware of the direct link between their level of engagement, behaviors, and productivity to rewards they value, motivation and engagement increase significantly. This creates a win-win combination as the team and the company move toward the same goals.
Managed properly employee engagement systems provide loyalty and devotion for your firm. Listen to your team, hear them, and take them seriously. Rewards after engagement is lost is too little and too late.
Don’t assume you know your team levels of engagement without a system in place. Be pro-active by utilizing or implementing an employee engagement system.
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