According to Gallup, 70% of U.S employees feel they are not engaged at work. To be exact, only a sheer 33% of employees are actively engaged, 49% not engaged, and 18% actively disengaged. These stats pick more on organizational diversity & culture, organizational trust & engagement rather than vindicating the organizational effort spend in building Good to Great / Great place to workspaces. (Also see,
What keeps Employees ticking as per Gallup ? (Click to expand)
Gallup’s meta-analysis of decades’ worth of data: It shows that high engagement—defined largely as having a strong connection with one’s work and colleagues, feeling like a real contributor, and enjoying ample chances to learn—consistently leads to positive outcomes for both individuals and organizations. The rewards include higher productivity, better-quality products, and increased profitability.
The above study emerges from arguably the most comprehensive research carried out by Gallup. Focusing on how great managers inspire high performance in employees, how do they generate passion, unite disparate personalities to focus on a common purpose, and propel teams to achieve ever-higher goals?, Gallup embarked on decades long journey of research including more than 10 million employee and manager interviews spanning 114 countries.
The results, encompass 12 elements that have most impact on the bottom line. Condensing the findings in to a book namely, 12: Elements of Great Managing (published in December 2006), it enables a prescriptive approach to managers to improve employee engagement
Counter-intuitive as it may seem, on one hand organizations are focused driving higher employee engagement (this is on top 3 priorities of every HR & Business Leaders) and yet organizations find their workforces with the above dismal numbers. Definitely, there is something more to look out for, it’s time to address the dinosaur in the room.
While Organizations are focused on developing organizational culture & busy improving employee engagement, very few are actually working towards building a culture of trust (yes, it’s organizational trust), which is what makes a meaningful difference. Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than employees working at low-trust companies (& high employee engagement). They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance. Also see, The Science of building high performance organization for sustained high performance & outcomes.
Thus, it would be fair to conclude the following from the above reasoning:
- High Organizational Engagement does not necessarily mean High Organizational Trust
- High Organizational Engagement does not lead to High Organizational Trust
- High Organizational Trust definitely leads to building of High Performance organization, but High Engagement might not.
The anatomy of Organizational Trust
Dr. Paul Zak, in his insightful research on The Neuroscience of Trust (2017), quantifies the characteristics of trust at workplace: Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout. This is equally corroborated by another of most comprehensive evidence based studies undertaken by Google – Project Aristotle’s goal was to answer the question, ‘What makes a team effective at Google ?’. Psychological Safety, Dependability, Structure & Clarity, Meaning, and Impact were the driving factors to determine team’s effectiveness. Not surprisingly, the first 3 elements are closely related to culture of building trust.
High-trust organizations enjoy 25% higher productivity
High-trust organizations have 27% higher retention
Employees of high-trust organizations take 2 fewer sick days (33% reduction)
Drawing upon validated research, which is validated by Zak’s team at a neuroscience level, there are exactly (& only) 9 key behaviors that result in trust & trust-building (also see, OKR’s – which equally resonate well with a similar set of behaviors), These 9 key elements directly influencing the trust drivers are: Recognizing Excellence Socially, Induce Challenge Stress, Autonomy, Self Management, Openness, Caring, Mastery, Authentic & Psychological Safety. A deliberate & conscious practice of these enables building the foundation of trust & symbiotically, a trust-building culture,
To conclude, building a culture of trust is key to building a high-performance organization, realistically maximizing the probability of achieving strategic goals and successful realization of organizational goals. It is the cornerstone of maximization of goal attainment & a leading driver of organizational success & progress.
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