If you’ve ever had a job you did not feel personally invested in, the songs “Working for the Weekend” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” may have struck a chord with you. When employees count down the hours, not only are they missing out on experiencing fulfillment in their work, but their employers ultimately suffer from issues like a lack of productivity and declining employee retention. Indeed, employee engagement may be the primary indicator of a company’s performance.
Fortunately, well-trained leaders can drive strong engagement by applying best practices taught in the nation’s top business schools, including the AACSB-accredited Lutgert College of Business at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). In programs like FGCU’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Management/Leadership, business professionals can learn about the importance of employee engagement and how it can benefit their organizations.
Why Employee Engagement Matters
Employees who feel engaged experience elevated levels of morale and exhibit a stronger sense of motivation, connectedness with their colleagues and alignment with their company’s mission. Their employers benefit from greater productivity and efficiency, better customer service and a competitive advantage in talent acquisition and retention.
On the other hand, unengaged employees demonstrate a lack of interest in their company’s success and tend to only fulfill the minimum requirements of their job. As a result, they are commonly referred to as “quiet quitters,” as they rarely express their dissatisfaction openly and seldom exceed expectations in their work. Even worse, actively disengaged employees not only lack interest but also harbor resentment toward their work environment, which may result in them acting out their discontent and potentially causing harm to their colleagues’ work. As a result, employers with too many unengaged or actively disengaged employees usually rate poorly in company culture and have high turnover rates with increased costs associated with maintaining a workforce.
Yet, despite years of research on the correlation between employee engagement and employer success, many companies do not achieve adequate levels of engagement. Consider these statistics:
- In 2022, just 32% of full- and part-time employees were actively engaged.
- Engaged employees increase productivity by 14%, customer ratings by 10%, sales by 18%, profits by 23% and organizational participation by 13%.
- 42% of business leaders feel somewhat or less equipped to recognize unengaged employees, according to the 2022 Performance Management Report from Clear Review.
- Fortunately, per the Clear Review report, organizations are starting to make employee engagement their primary focus, rising from 33% in 2021 to 48% in 2022.
The Impetus for Employee Engagement Must Come From the Top
Leadership heavily influences the level of engagement within a company. Employees often take cues from their organization’s executives and expect them to establish a positive work culture. Company leadership is crucial in determining the importance of engagement to the organization. For this reason, CEOs should take a proactive approach to fostering psychological and emotional engagement among their executives so this value can cascade down the organization’s leadership chain.
Among other qualities, leaders at all levels must possess accountability for engagement and promote its significance as a competitive and strategic advantage. They must know when and how to delegate responsibilities with engagement initiatives and policies and be able to continually learn new best practices through employee feedback and research.
An MBA Program That Trains Leaders in Best Practices for Driving Engagement
- Establish a culture of trust and inclusivity where employees feel valued and respected.
- Hire exceptional executives and managers with a record of driving employee engagement.
- Lead by example and share the vision, goals and strategies for engagement.
- Model the behaviors expected from employees.
- Provide a range of opportunities for professional growth and development.
- Meet with employees to discuss how individual goals relate to business goals.
- Closely monitor employee performance and provide feedback and positive recognition.
- At all levels of leadership, be open to employee feedback about engagement factors.
- Track engagement levels with appropriate metrics to understand the impact of policies.
These principles are taught throughout the core course curriculum and in the program’s electives. They are emphasized in the Human Resource Management course, which provides broad exposure to leadership policies and functions, and in the Org Development & Change course, which covers a process of planned change to improve an organization’s effectiveness within a changing and complex environment.
If you want to become the confident leader today’s organizations need, the online MBA with a concentration in Management/Leadership program can provide the skills and training you need to drive employee engagement and meet a diverse array of business leadership challenges.
Learn more about FGCU’s online MBA with a concentration in Management/Leadership program.