A recent headline in the Wall Street Journal(March 23, 2019) read “One Fix for All That’s Wrong: Better Managers.” The report by author Sam Walker was based on research from the Gallup Organization. I read the article and was intrigued so I downloaded the Gallup research report and found that they had surveyed more than 195,600 U.S. employees in 2015 and 2016 and had more than 31 million respondents.
The research found that only one-third of those employees are engaged at work while 16 percent of the employees were actively disengaged or miserable in their jobs and tended to destroy what the most engaged employees built. The remaining 51 percent of employees were not engaged, meaning they were at work but not really contributing. The Gallup study suggests that if American companies were to simply double the number of engaged workers to two-thirds it would reverse the declining economy.
The Gallup poll found that the major factor for sustained excellence in performance was engagement and the belief by employees that they were doing meaningful work that supported personal growth. Quite simply, the employees of today want to have meaning and purpose. They want to be a part of something that is bigger than they are.
It is interesting to note that Gallup found in previous studies the order of priorities ranked family, having children, owning a home, and living in peace above having a job. In the most recent study Gallup found that having a rewarding job ranked first.
The research showed that managers have a 70 percent influence on what their teams achieved. If organizations are looking for superior performance, the manager has nearly three-fourths of the influence on ensuring this happens. However, only 20 percent of the employees reported that their performance is managed in such a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. This points out the need for organizations to have good managers who are actively coaching and guiding the employees in their charge.
Mr. Walker suggests that a shortage of jobs and inspiring bosses might explain why companies are struggling to recruit and retain millennials and could be the reason why the economy is growing so slowly. Gallup reports, “Organizations have nowhere to hide. They have to adapt to the needs of the modern workforce, or they will find themselves struggling to attract and keep great employees and therefore customers.”
The report says there is urgency for leaders to clarify and communicate their vision more clearly and rally employees around it. Only 22 percent of employees agree that their organization has a clear direction. Only 15 percent of employees feel that their leadership make them enthusiastic about the future, and only 13 percent feel that the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization.
The survey illuminates the need for leaders and managers to have a clear direction, vision, and purpose for their organizations. Business as usual will not sustain growth or retain employees. The survey says that the one thing leaders and managers cannot do is nothing.
Gallup advises companies to seek out managers who infect their teams with a sense of purpose and function more like coaches than conventional top-down bosses.
Is your organization struggling to hire and retain talent? Are your managers coaching your employees to greatness or are they stuck in the traditional top-down management style? If these issues are affecting your performance, we can help. We are experts in business and helping organizations to make dramatic improvements in productivity and sustained growth. Give us a call: 503-312-3145