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Published:November 6th, 2013 09:32 EST
Don`t Sit This One Out: What the Great Companies Do To Encourage Great Performance

Don`t Sit This One Out: What the Great Companies Do To Encourage Great Performance

By Jay Forte

"Don`t sit this one out," is a statement one of my CEO clients says to his staff. He continues, "Show up, step up and stand out - there is no room for any employee to sit out anything in the workplace."

Statistics still show that employee engagement is still a problem. According to the Gallup Organization, fifty-two percent of employees do just enough not to get fired - they are disinterested in and disengaged from their work. Add to that 19% of employees who actively hate their jobs and then number of average performers moves to over 70% - employees who choose to "sit this one out" - to not show up passionate, committed and focused on performing. What kind of company can you have when more than two thirds of your employees choose not to bring their A-game to work?

Employee engagement - the discretionary effort employees bring to their work - continues to be a problem in many companies. Let me share some of what this CEO has implemented in his company to encourage his people not to sit this one out.

1. He ensures information moves freely. Create an obstacle to information and both engagement and performance suffer. A-level employees want to work in organizations that share all information - the important and the trivial - so employees are constantly informed. It is hard to be engaged and excited about work if you don`t what is true or what is happening next. Increase management communication with employees; create an intranet, send a weekly email or host team meetings. Insist that information not only be timely and accurate, but that all employees be part of the information flow. 2. He ensures performance expectations are clear. A particular form of information that needs to be absolutely clear is performance expectations. Performance expectations define the performance "done right" - this is so employees know what the completed task done well looks like. With the clarity of expectations, the employee now has the ability to determine how to achieve the expectation - employees have a performance voice and ownership in the process. Ownership increases engagement. 3. He ensures that all employees contribute improvement ideas. Train employees to be opportunity-hunters; have them regularly review every aspect of the business and suggest ways to add greater value, improve the quality of the service event or anticipate a future challenge.  Applaud employees for their ability to watch, connect and focus on ways to improve. 4. He ensures everyone is held accountable. By training managers to become more coach-like, employees are held more accountable for not only their results, but their thinking. Managers are trained in how to coach their employees - how to ask more questions to help them generate their solutions and own their performance. Shifting managers` mindsets out of telling into asking and holding accountable shifts the role of manager throughout the organization.

On great teams, committed to doing great work, there is no room for anyone to sit any part of the day out. These teams hire based on talent, define performance expectations, move information freely, think innovatively and hold each other accountable. These steps are intentional - to raise the performance and engagement of each employee.

 How engaged are your employees and what are you doing about improving it? If your team is close to the national average where 70% of employees are in some form of disengagement, what will you do today to change things? When it comes to employee performance and engagement, you just have to get it right.