The season of the NFL, or the demonstration of “ultimate employee engagement has begun! “Employee engagement” is defined as “the emotional and functional commitment an employee has to his or her organization.” Statistics from Gallup show that 71% of all American workers are not fully engaged (see Gen Y multi-screening on company time). We CAN see full engagement on the football field every Sunday (and Monday and Thursday, and college games on Saturday).
I’m speaking to an audience of 300 women business leaders this week on Employee Engagement, and you can bet I will use football as the metaphor.
To me, the 3 key drivers of employee engagement are:
1. Belief in and relationship with the direct manager. It’s the season of the Quarterback, and rightly so. Do we overestimate the role of “leader” in your workplace? I don’t think so. We saw my fave, Peyton Manning, lead his team in the first game of the season, tying a touchdown record (7) while involving his entire team in the process. Every team that Peyton leads is devoted to him, because they know he elevates their performance. Are you loyal to your people? Do you make them look good?
2. People get to do what they do best. What a concept! They get the internal reward, as well as the external rewards of money and recognition. Players get to do this by playing their positions on the field. Are YOU giving your people the chance to excel, or do you have some people doing the wrong jobs?
3. Pride in working for the company. Football has a united goal and a stated culture—not hidden. Players are rewarded for good performance on the field, as well as being good team players in the locker room. In turn, they are fiercely loyal and proud of their team. Do you show employees that they are valued as true contributors, giving them a sense of empowerment?
Obviously, we can learn a lot from football about employee engagement. Watch and see! The season has just begun.