Fence Sitters

According to Gallup, there are three types of employees within every organization; those that are engaged, those that are not engaged and those that are actively disengaged.  To spot engaged employees in your company, look for these basic behaviors; 

Engaged employees are Involved.

Engaged employees are Committed.

Engaged employees are Enthusiastic.  

Actively disengaged employees are the polar opposite of engaged employees; not involved, not committed and enthusiastic about one thing; getting in the way of positive accomplishments.  

The majority of the workforce in America (and around the world) are balancing on the fence between being engaged and being actively disengaged.  These people are just waiting to be recruited to one side or the other.

Gallup research shows that companies that focus on improving employee engagement enjoy higher productivity, greater profitability, improved safety rates, lower turnover and increased customer satisfaction.  Engaged employees extend voluntary and discretionary effort every day for the good of the company.  

So how do you get those neutral fence-sitters to jump over to the bright side?

In a previous post (Getting Engaged, March 19th), I looked at engagement from the lens of a manager and prescribed that management provide Job Clarity, Communication, Accountability and Development in order to deepen employee engagement. 

Now, I offer a look at engagement through the hearts and minds of employees.  Here are four categories of questions which employees ask themselves when they rate engagement in the workplace;

1. What do I get?  The first step on the path to engagement starts with the basics.  In addition to a fair wage, employees need to know exactly what is expected of them at work and they need the materials and equipment to do their job.  Gallup surveys indicate 50% of the workforce does not know what is expected of them in their jobs.  Make sure you review expectations and highlight what excellence looks like.  One resource you can provide your team to do their job is StrengthsFinder so they can discover what is right about themselves and consider the value they can give back.  

2. What do I give?  This one might surprise you, but employees want to be held accountable.  They want to know that they can leverage their unique strengths to do what they do best every day and they want development so they can exceed expectations and add value.  In turn, they want to be recognized, which fuels their desire to extend themselves and offer extra effort. 

3. How do I belong?  Employees want to know that their contribution aligns with the mission of their organization and that they are surrounded by team members who do quality work and care for one another.  They want to be able to share their opinions openly and aim their strengths at objectives which will have a meaningful purpose and impact. 

4. How do we grow?  When employees ask about how to grow as individuals and as teams in support of the organizations goals, you can be assured that they have come down from the fence.  Here, employees are completely immersed with the identity of their company.  They celebrate when things go right and try harder when things don't go as planned.  They look for ways to leverage their strengths to grow as individuals and for ways the team can leverage their combined strengths to advance as a collaborative group. 

Turning non-engaged employees into engaged employees is a wise investment in time and resources.  If your company measures engagement, consider how your survey questions align with the four categories listed above.  If your company does not measure engagement - start.   Consider looking into Gallup's Q12, which is 12 questions which measure the most important elements of employee engagement. 

I am a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach and a 20+ year leader at Universal Orlando Resort.  I specialize in designing experiences that add joy, adventure and fulfillment to the lives of others.  Find me on Twitter @dpddonovan and Instagram @strengthszone  


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