Performance Management

The re-engagement remedy: one meaningful conversation a week

One meaningful conversation a week is all it takes to engage people and enable them to thrive at work. Read more here

Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workforce Report reveals that well over half (59%) of the world’s employees are not engaged - or to use the more popular term, quietly quitting. That’s the majority of the global workforce, yet in some regions the figure is even higher: in Europe, as many as 71% of people are not engaged at work. 

So seismic is this issue that people could even be forgiven for believing it to be a situation beyond salvage. After all, we’re talking about six or seven quiet quitters for every ten employees here. 

Despite those odds, however, there is actually huge potential to turn this tidal wave of employee apathy. Why? Because although undeniably large in number, these individuals are not yet actively disengaged. They want to be re-inspired and re-motivated - and it’s no exaggeration to say that re-engaging people at scale presents the single, biggest opportunity for business right now. Just imagine the colossal productivity, performance, and retention benefits that would deliver. 

But here’s the million dollar question: how can organisations do this?

A new era of engagement 

We’ve already mentioned that quiet quitters are ripe for re-engagement. But what exactly does that mean? It means that these employees represent low hanging fruit in business productivity terms. Yes they’re disconnected, but they’re not yet disgruntled or seeking employment elsewhere. Their door is still ajar and so with the right approach, these employees can become engaged and high performing once again. 

It’s worth noting too that this need not be a complex - or expensive - guessing game for organisations. Gallup’s research shows that employees with low engagement actually know what they would change in order to improve their experience of work. Forty-one percent of those polled said they would change ‘Engagement & Culture’, citing a desire for more autonomy, better recognition, clearer goals - and wait for it, a manager who is approachable and who they can talk to openly. 

It’s THAT simple. It’s about enabling managers and employees to have regular and effective conversations about the things that matter most to the individual. It’s about listening to what people want, really listening, and catering to their unique needs and expectations.

But this isn’t news to those of us in the world of HR. We’ve known for some time that the manager is by far the biggest driver of engagement. In fact, managers account for as much as 70% of variance in employee engagement. They are, as Gallup so eloquently puts it, the linchpin of employee engagement. 

The criticality of the manager in these terms is a topic that Claire De Carteret, Gallup’s MD EMEA, recently spoke about on OpenBlend’s ‘Conversations that Matter’ podcast. Depicting the difference between a mediocre manager and an exceptional one, Claire explained that what sets the best managers apart is their ability to have the right kinds of conversations. What we’re talking about here are conversations that are meaningful to the individual employee. Conversations that touch on the topics most important to them, and which build their emotional and psychological connection with work.

One meaningful conversation a week

But this is about more than just the human need for connection. As Claire explains, it’s a data-driven formula that’s proven to transform people and business performance every time. 

So what is this formula? 

It’s one meaningful conversation a week. This is all it takes to engage people and enable them to thrive at work.  

This notion that managers and employees should be having regular 1:1s is not a new concept, of course, but Gallup’s data (and our own) highlights the criticality of these conversations. It’s a simple strategy but it’s proven to deliver. 

Of course, we’re not saying that every manager and employee will instantly know how to have meaningful 1:1 conversations. For many, perhaps even the majority, this will present new and unchartered territory. It will require learning and development, with the benefits being continually reinforced to support people’s understanding and appetite for more. But by doing the groundwork, instilling the right mindset; building the necessary soft skills; and lending the right tools and technologies; it’s absolutely achievable - and in a relatively short space of time. 

It’s also why, at OpenBlend, we like to talk about ‘engaging 1:1 conversations’. Great conversations engage someone in the moment, yes, but they also build a much more lasting type of engagement. Now’s the time to unlock that potential for your employees and reap the tangible bottom line benefits. 

To learn how OpenBlend can enable your managers and employees to have at least one meaningful conversation a week, get in touch with our team today.

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