The Troubling Reality of Employee Engagement and How to Build a Better Company Future


Is employee motivation or employee engagement part of your business strategy? If not, it should be, as a demotivated employee may hurt the efficiency, productivity, profits and growth of your company. Gallup has conducted research on the topic, and spoiler alert: these are not encouraging figures.

  • Only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.

  • 30% of employees strongly agree that their manager involves them in goal setting.

  • Employees whose managers involve them in goal setting are 3.6x more likely than other employees to be engaged.

  • 21% of employees strongly agree they have performance metrics that are within their control.

  • 14% of employees strongly agree that the performance reviews they receive inspire them to improve.

  • 26% of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive helps them to do their work better.

What can be done to better motivate or engage employees?

Culture is rapidly changing, and we have a more diverse workforce than ever. We see everyone from millennials to Generation X, Y, and Z represented in the workforce now. Managers must find a way to engage with a variety of employees on a level that will get results without adopting a “one size fits all” approach.

So let’s focus on the stats above. They all reference either the manager’s interaction with the employee or the way the employee is measured or evaluated. A performance evaluation should avoid simply scoring the employee and utilizing standardized feedback. There’s nothing motivating about that treatment or process. Instead, focus on things that build individual, intrinsic motivation:

  • Set goals or define metrics within the employee’s control, with their input.

  • Discuss why the employee’s role and performance matter and how it impacts their team or the business as a whole.

  • Have a plan for the employee’s development that focuses on their aspirations and capacity for growth, with a directional focus and a timeline for measuring progress.

  • Adopt self-evaluations so the employee can assess their own performance, with the manager and employee working together on the areas that require improvement. This encourages dialogue, ownership and accountability. Follow up often, not annually.

This topic has a lot of moving parts and there many potential paths to improvement. See the cited sources below for more on these ideas and some in-depth discussion about the key points mentioned above that could help your business.

The Performance Management Revolution
Why Performance Management Is Dead And Performance Motivation Is Here To Stay [Infographic]

The Culture Counts blog is a discussion of law firm culture and legal innovation, including topics such as effective leadership, employee engagement, workplace culture, ideal work environment, company core values, and workplace productivity.  

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