Imagine a workplace without conflict, everyone loves his or her job and business is thriving. What would you think? Most of you would think I’m totally crazy and that this isn’t possible in today’s environment. Well, you are sadly mistaken.

One of the biggest challenges facing business today is how to get employees engaged. The Gallup Poll released in June 2013 estimates that active employee disengagement costs the United States $450 to $550 billion per year. They have found that managers who focus on their employees’ strengths can practically eliminate active disengagement and double the average of U.S. workers who are engaged nationwide. Gallup’s extensive research shows that engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes essential to an organization’s financial success, including productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction. Engaged employees are the ones who are the most likely to drive the innovation, growth and revenue that their companies desperately need.

5 Steps to Better Employee Engagement

1. Clearly defined goals: Organizations can greatly impact overall engagement by developing their leaders/employees and linking key performance indicators to these eight areas: absenteeism, turnover, shrinkage, safety incidents, quality (defects), customer satisfaction, productivity, profitability. When employees are linked to the overall goals of the organization, they work harder knowing that they are part of the success. The toughest part for leaders is assessing every employee.

2. Feedback is immediate, and everyone gets it: Today’s performance evaluations are reviewed once a year. The reality is that most people think in 90-day timeframes. That being said, performance and goals should be set and reviewed every 90 days, if not sooner.

3. Push employees to balance tasks and capabilities: Studies show that most employees are only being utilized to 50 percent of their capacity. When employees don’t feel they are contributing enough, they become disengaged. We need to continually raise the bar: not a lot but enough to keep them challenged.

4. Employees have a sense of control in their jobs: Leaders should ask for employee input in the decision-making process even when they have an idea on the solution. If employees aren’t included in the process, do they own the goal?

5. Appropriate use of time: It is important for every employee to know that even some of the most mindless tasks are linked to the overall success of the organization. Employees don’t want to feel like the tasks they complete are a waste of time.

⎥ Start implementing these steps in your organization today. It may be difficult at times, but you will begin to see your profit margin and employee engagement go up. JC