Employee engagement has headlined top business blogs and articles for over a decade and although we are making some inroads, many employers and managers still don’t understand what engagement is—let alone how it can impact their bottom line. Top 500 firms in North America do, however, tend to be more in tune with the benefits of an engaged workforce; namely decreased turnover and significantly increased client satisfaction, revenue, earnings per share and profit (up to 2.5 times that of competitors with low engagement).
Leaders often see the end of the calendar year as a time of planning and fiscal review. This comes naturally to most leaders. However, what does not, or is often not welcomed, is the most dreaded component of the talent cycle – annual performance reviews. It harbours fear in some of the most seasoned leaders, offering relief only when it is ‘finally over.’ On occasion, I have met leaders who have embraced and mastered the talent management agenda.
Leaders often preach the importance of constructive feedback but do we practice it? Corporate communications, job descriptions, engagement surveys, and even corporate values all point to the significance of feedback and yet we rarely provide it and when we do, it is often not done well. We even go so far as to let someone go so we don’t have to give them honest, constructive feedback. So what makes it so hard? In countless sessions I have given on feedback the overriding concern remains the same – “I don’t want to hurt them.” Sadly, not giving feedback will hurt them even more.