The Link between Employee Engagement and Project Success

Is employee engagement an issue in your organization? Only a third of employees are deeply engaged. Only a third of projects are successful. The match between these two statistics is striking. What does it tell us?

1. That the best practices for fostering engagement are as valid in a project setting as in day-to-day management. 2. That despite what we know about the importance of engagement and how to drive it, many managers and organizations still have a long way to go to understand these best practices and apply them willingly and effectively.

According to a psychometrics study, the three most important ways to build engagement are: 

  • Communicate clear expectations.
  • Listen to employees’ opinions.
  • Give recognition.

A 2012 TowersWatson survey of 32,000 employees worldwide revealed that the top five drivers of sustainable engagement are: • 

  1. Leadership. Leaders who shows interest in employees’ well-being and behave consistently with the organization’s values.
  2. Stress, balance and workload. Manageable stress levels, a healthy work-life balance, and enough employees to do the job right.
  3. Goals and objectives. A clear understanding of the organization’s goals, the steps that need to be taken to reach those goals, and how employees can contribute.
  4. Supervision. Immediate supervisors who treat employees with respect, and who assign tasks suited to employees’ skills.
  5. Image. An organization that is highly regarded and displays integrity in its business activities.

You want Paul, Lynda, Jonathan and Caroline to be engaged in a change initiative that affects them, and to stay engaged over the longer term? Simply get back to basics: communicate the goals and clear expectations, help them understand how they are affected and how they can contribute, listen to them, treat them with respect, take their workload into account, match their tasks to their skill levels and give them recognition.

It’s easy enough to grasp. But it can be a challenge to put into practice. What to do? How about starting with an action plan that pulls together as many engagement drivers as possible? For instance: Meet with the team on April 30 to present the changes that affect them, listen to their concerns and agree on an action plan. Obvious, you say? And yet, how often do we forget this simple action? Back to basics.