Leadership Lessons

Employee Engagement and Uncertainty


There is quite a bit of talk about employee engagement these days in leadership articles and blogs. Engagement, at its simplest definition, is the discretionary effort an employee is willing to give. That is, how much do they care about the results they are creating?

Engagement is strongly connected to motivation and productivity and is affected by many factors. One of the most overlooked sources of disengagement is uncertainty. When employees are uncertain it can create hesitation, concern, fear, dissatisfaction, or apathy. Below are some of key uncertainties affecting engagement as reported by Hilary Wright at Quantum Workplace.

Fit With Future
Nearly a quarter of employees are unsure how they fit into the organization’s future plans. Historically, this has been a critical engagement driver, so it’s not an area we want to see uncertainty from employees. How does your organization approach team alignment, performance management, and career development?

Confidence in Being Recognized
One in five employees doubts she or he will be recognized when contributing to the organization’s success. This should be an easy win for organizations looking to move employees in the middle to being more engaged. If someone does something awesome, recognize it.

Investments in People
One in five employees also doubt his or her employer makes investments to make employees more successful. From training to tools, are you setting your employees up for success? Making investments in employees not only makes them feel valued, but also can improve productivity and innovation.

Open and Honest Communication
When asked if there was open and honest communication between employees and managers, 21 percent of employees were unsure. This could be an issue of manager effectiveness, but more likely, this is an issue of global communication. How is information disseminated throughout your organization? Are leaders open with information; are they open to feedback? Do managers and employees know how to have constructive, open conversations? Open and honest communication is the foundation of building trust among employees and plays a major role in shaping employee perceptions about the organization.

Regular Performance Feedback
In previous years, employees were more confident in receiving regular constructive feedback from their managers, but this year, 21 percent weren’t confident that they would receive regular feedback. Performance management is critical to employee growth, productivity, and quality of job output.



Each month, the HR Center for Learning and Leadership spotlights an excerpt from a leadership publication.

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