Employee Motivation and Engagement to drive Digital Transformation
How Digital Leaders Inspire Engagement
Digital transformation is multidimensional, involving people, work cultures, and technologies. Transformation programs are complex because they address tangible short-term needs, while at the same time building a foundation for the future, which is by definition uncertain. Inspiring people to work with new technologies in a context of uncertainty is challenging.
This challenge is compounded by the fact that, according to Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace report, employee engagement is low: Only 15% of employees on a global scale are “highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work.” The Gallup study concluded that engagement was much higher when people felt that their input mattered and that they had the autonomy to develop and implement new ideas.
More: Maslow and Engagement
More: Engaged Workplace
A staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged. Many companies are experiencing a crisis of engagement and aren’t aware of it.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The level of employee engagement among Gallup’s best clients is more than 21 times the rate of workforces globally.
The Negative Impact of Disengaged Employees on Germany
- Only 16% of German workers are engaged in their jobs
- Absenteeism is 67% higher among actively disengaged employees than engaged ones
- Only 16% of disengaged employees would recommend their company’s products or services
Engagement in Germany
Fewer than one-fifth of workers in Germany are engaged in their jobs in any given year. This finding has remained consistent since 2001 when Gallup began measuring and reporting on the country’s workplace engagement. Employee engagement levels affect key performance outcomes, such as increased profitability and productivity, based on the conditions, mood and motivation of workers, and their responses to crucial workplace elements. And the news isn’t good.
Gallup’s latest measure of employee engagement in Germany found that 16% of workers are engaged in their jobs, or emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and company. The majority are not engaged (68%), which means they aren’t putting energy or passion into their work. And 16% are actively disengaged, meaning they are more or less out to do damage to their company. The percentage of actively disengaged employees had previously declined; it was 24% in 2012, and then dropped to 17% in 2013 and to 15% in 2014, before edging up in 2015.
The Impact of Disengagement
Actively disengaged employees cost the German economy from 75.6 billion to 99.2 billion euros annually in lost productivity, according to Gallup estimates. And the economic damage caused by workers who are not engaged is an estimated additional cost to the economy of 139.1 billion to 187.9 billion euros. The total estimated cost would range from 214.7 to 287.1 billion euros each year.
There’s a personal cost to disengagement as well. Employees spend most of their waking hours on the job, so their engagement level not only affects their work, but also their lives outside of work:
- Almost half of actively disengaged workers answered yes when asked if they felt stressed yesterday (48%), compared with just two in 10 workers who are engaged.
- Fewer actively disengaged employees (64%) answered yes when asked if they felt a “good and positive mood” yesterday, versus 92% of engaged employees.
- Nearly seven in 10 actively disengaged workers (69%) answered yes when asked if they felt fit and productive yesterday, compared with 94% of engaged workers.
- Only about one in 10 actively disengaged employees (11%) strongly agrees they had fun at work during the last week, compared with 81% of engaged employees.
- Actively disengaged workers (58%) are significantly more likely than engaged workers (15%) to answer yes when asked if they felt burned out due to work stress in the last month.
Disengagement Hurts Workplaces and Employment Brands
At the workplace level, disengagement hurts companies in many different ways. A key effect of low employee engagement is an increase in the annual absenteeism rate, which is 67% higher among actively disengaged employees compared with engaged workers (9.7 days versus 5.8 days). The accumulated impact of this absenteeism can be overwhelming: Gallup estimates that German companies lose 254.40 euros for each day an employee is absent from work, resulting in an estimated cost of more than 18.9 billion euros in lost productivity annually to German employers.
Failing to engage employees has an impact on a company’s employment brand, too. Word-of-mouth is crucial to companies because people often trust their friends’ recommendations more than classic advertising channels or job notices. Word-of-mouth is also important because digital technologies like social networks play an increasingly significant role in influencing purchasing and job-search behavior.
Yet just 3% of actively disengaged workers strongly agree that they would recommend their company as a place to work to friends and family members, compared with 75% of engaged employees. And actively disengaged employees are less proud of their company’s products and services: 15% of actively disengaged employees strongly agree they would recommend their company’s products or services to friends or family members, but 78% of engaged employees strongly agree they would.
Right now, an estimated 760,000 actively disengaged employees in Germany are looking for a new job. Because actively disengaged employees are more or less out to do damage to their company, many employers might be pleased that these workers are thinking about leaving. The problem is, these workers may be highly trained experts, practitioners and professionals — employees whose skills are desirable and needed, even if their attitudes are not.
Studies have shown that costs related to replacing an employee can be as high as 1.5 times the employee’s annual salary. It took 84 days to fill a vacancy with a qualified employee in 2015, on average, according to the Bundesagentur für Arbeit, Germany’s federal job agency. That’s 19 more days than it took to fill a vacancy in 2008. The number of unfilled positions in 2015 was just under 570,000, on average, according to the same source. These data underline the importance of retaining employees and avoiding the high cost of unwanted turnover in the future. Engagement offers a potent lever for companies to use to retain top talent as the persistent shortage of skilled workers becomes even more severe.
Here’s why your attitude is more important than your intelligence
Psychologist Carol Dweck has found that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ
When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude).
Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.
Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.
People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.
Common sense would suggest that having ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is easy. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms.
According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with the growth mindset this way,
“Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’”
Regardless of which side of the chart you fall on, you can make changes and develop a growth mindset. What follows are some strategies that will fine-tune your mindset and help you make certain it’s as growth oriented as possible.
Don’t stay helpless. We all hit moments when we feel helpless. The test is how we react to that feeling. We can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag us down. There are countless successful people who would have never made it if they had succumbed to feelings of helplessness: Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas,” Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a TV anchor in Baltimore for being “too emotionally invested in her stories,” Henry Ford had two failed car companies prior to succeeding with Ford, and Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC’s Cinematic Arts School multiple times. Imagine what would have happened if any of these people had a fixed mindset. They would have succumbed to the rejection and given up hope. People with a growth mindset don’t feel helpless because they know that in order to be successful, you need to be willing to fail hard and then bounce right back.
Be passionate. Empowered people pursue their passions relentlessly. There’s always going to be someone who’s more naturally talented than you are, but what you lack in talent, you can make up for in passion. Empowered people’s passion is what drives their unrelenting pursuit of excellence. Warren Buffet recommends finding your truest passions using, what he calls, the 5/25 technique: Write down the 25 things that you care about the most. Then, cross out the bottom 20. The remaining 5 are your true passions. Everything else is merely a distraction.
Take action. It’s not that people with a growth mindset are able to overcome their fears because they are braver than the rest of us; it’s just that they know fear and anxiety are paralyzing emotions and that the best way to overcome this paralysis is to take action. People with a growth mindset are empowered, and empowered people know that there’s no such thing as a truly perfect moment to move forward. So why wait for one? Taking action turns all your worry and concern about failure into positive, focused energy.
Then go the extra mile (or two). Empowered people give it their all, even on their worst days. They’re always pushing themselves to go the extra mile. One of Bruce Lee’s pupils ran three miles every day with him. One day, they were about to hit the three-mile mark when Bruce said, “Let’s do two more.” His pupil was tired and said, “I’ll die if I run two more.” Bruce’s response? “Then do it.” His pupil became so angry that he finished the full five miles. Exhausted and furious, he confronted Bruce about his comment, and Bruce explained it this way: “Quit and you might as well be dead. If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there; you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”
If you aren’t getting a little bit better each day, then you’re most likely getting a little worse—and what kind of life is that?
Expect results. People with a growth mindset know that they’re going to fail from time to time, but they never let that keep them from expecting results. Expecting results keeps you motivated and feeds the cycle of empowerment. After all, if you don’t think you’re going to succeed, then why bother?
Be flexible. Everyone encounters unanticipated adversity. People with an empowered, growth-oriented mindset embrace adversity as a means for improvement, as opposed to something that holds them back. When an unexpected situation challenges an empowered person, they flex until they get results.
Don’t complain when things don’t go your way. Complaining is an obvious sign of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset looks for opportunity in everything, so there’s no room for complaints.
Bringing It All Together
By keeping track of how you respond to the little things, you can work every day to keep yourself on the right side of the chart above.
About The Author:
Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.