Outstanding results require engaged employees. Engaged employees require a sense of ownership and accountability. Here’s how you can achieve them all.

Organizations that engage their employees are getting more difficult to find! According to the Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, only 13% of employees worldwide are reportedly engaged in their work, which is rather concerning when you consider that engaged employees are a key component of reaching and exceeding business goals.

Disengaged employees aren’t focused on results

Disengaged employees have no sense of ownership or responsibility regarding the work they do. They do the work, but are not accountable for the result. They feel as though there is no personal benefit in excellent results. They don’t see what’s in it for them. But what’s in it for them is exactly the motivation that fosters ownership and accountability.

How leaders can reengage employees

While we all know that keeping employees engaged is critical to the success of our organizational goals, knowing how to motivate and inspire them isn’t always as clear. At The Dorsey Group, we believe the following key factors determine whether employees are engaged.

  1. Employees must know what they’re responsible for and why they do it

Imagine you’re a disengaged employee and your supervisor tells you to do something. You’ll most likely do what you’re told, even if you know a better way to do it or aren’t quite sure what the purpose is. You were given a strict assignment and you performed it. The result isn’t as important. If something doesn’t turn out right, well, that’s the superior’s problem, not yours. You did what he or she told you to do.

Now, had your supervisor explained why it was important, you may have suggested that better way of doing you. You may have asked questions and cared about the result of what you were doing. Instead of seeing it as a strict assignment, you would have been engaged in the work and invested in the outcome.

Simon Sinek’s infamous TED talk on Starting With Why is an excellent discussion of the importance of the simple, yet powerful question—why? It is getting employees to start with “why” that inspires action and accountability. The more knowledge an employee has about what he or she is doing and why it needs to be done, the more driven he or she is to own the process—and the result.

  2. Trust in both the organization and their management

How many people would willingly eliminate their own job? When employees are asked to reduce costs or make processes more efficient, for example, they may worry that their job will eventually be eliminated. If I do that, you won’t need me anymore.

So leadership must understand that people will not work on anything they feel will hurt them. There must be trust between employees, teams and leaders. Engagement does not stem from fear, but trust. When leadership puts employees in a situation where they can be successful, they learn to trust that what they’re being asked to work on is reasonable instead of threatening.

  3. Progress v. change

Change is viewed as something done to you, whereas progress is viewed as something done with you. So when you want to motivate employees to take ownership and be accountable, you want them to see what they’re doing as progress. You want to be clear on exactly “what’s in it for them.”

Going to work day after day can sometimes feel like a monotonous cycle, but when employees see their work being translated into results they’ll want to take ownership of those achievements. And that’s what drives employee engagement.

Employees and leaders ultimately want the same thing

Employees are no different than leaders; both want to feel as though they’re working for and contributing to a successful organization. When leadership is able to clarify the benefit of progress and motivate employees to take ownership and be accountable, the entire organization becomes engaged in its success, making it possible to achieve and exceed its goals. Developing a scorecard that clearly aligns and measures results is a great way to track and communicate progress to the employees.

Driving employee engagement requires a dynamic culture—a work environment The Dorsey Group strives to create. Through teamwork, communication and employee engagement, we’re able to help companies achieve organizational excellence. Contact us today to learn more.