Employee engagement surveys continually find the majority of U.S. employees are disengaged in their jobs. But how many employers have actually done something about it? Have you taken the pulse in your own agency? Have you made efforts to draw stronger connections between your employees and the company?

Probably only very few of you have. The number of agencies we see with highly functioning, healthy team environments is extremely low. And we see very few agencies actively working to create growth-oriented environments. But those that do are seeing results completely unlike those who ignore the importance of the team and their engagement with the company.

Creating meaningful changes in team development can result in a measurable difference to your growth curve. An ADP study shows the cost of disengagement at more than $2,000 per employee, per year. Now compound that with missed opportunities they’re not generating because of their disengagement and we’ve got a real problem.

Fixing it starts by getting clear about what engagement really means. Lunches and parties may be fun, but true engagement comes from the meaningful connection employees feel to the company. According to Gallup, the disengaged outnumber the engaged 2:1. However, in companies they studied with excellent team development programs, the engaged outnumber disengaged by an overwhelming 9:1. Think they’re driving better results than the first group?

Getting started on this can be a daunting task, I get that. Focus your efforts in these three areas to begin creating stronger connections with your employees. 

Culture

Without a vision, plan and strong communication, a culture develops randomly rather than what you want and need it to be. Define the business and environment you want (vision, plan, values, attitude). Commit to the culture by communicating your expectations regularly and sharing stories of how you see the team successfully demonstrating your desired behaviors.

Fill your team with people who believe and value the same things you do. It’s those people who share your beliefs that are willing to run through walls for you and their teammates.

Development

Regular coaching and helping people develop professionally are imperative to driving employee connection. Meet with each person once a week for at least five minutes to discuss what’s working and not working. Co-create personal development plans to ensure their continued growth. Develop job descriptions to help clarify roles.

Recruiting

Ongoing recruiting efforts are necessary for hiring, just like in selling, because without a full pipeline, every opportunity or candidate looks like a good one when you’re desperate. And without a strong company vision and plan, it’s hard to sell talented people on dedicating themselves to your company.

Look for people who love process, helping clients grow, and who fit your cultural values. Your development plans will help them grow into the skills they need to excel.

Make team development a priority to drive new behaviors and change your results. How you work as a team is the one thing competitors can’t duplicate. Make your team both the most attractive and feared in your market.

Keneipp is a partner and coach at Q4intelligence, driving agency transformation. Learn more at q4intel.com. Reach her at wendy@q4intel.com, on LinkedIn, or Twitter @WendyKeneipp.

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