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Engaging Excellence

There’s a dilemma in the workplace: engagement, or lack thereof. According to the “State of the American Workplace” by the research firm Gallup only 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work. For companies, this troubling statistic significantly impacts culture. When employees are dissatisfied, they’re disengaged—impacting productivity, positivity and possibility.

The Benefits

Engaged employees are positive contributors to the organization—those who care about and are willing to give discretionary effort on behalf of the organization. According to Gallup, engaged employees are “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” When team members give their best each day, the company’s vision, values and goals—however lofty—are within reach.

Efforts to engage employees go much further than enhancing an organization’s employer brand to attract ideal candidates. Research reveals engaged employees are more productive. According to Watson Wyatt’s “WorkUSA Report,” companies with an engaged workforce have 26 percent higher employee productivity and three-quarters of highly engaged employees “exceed” or “far exceed” expectations.

Engagement also increases career satisfaction and commitment—engaged team members miss 20 percent fewer days of work, according to the report.

The Measurement

Engaged employees are critical to the success of any organization—but how do you know if your team is enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace? Many turn to measuring engagement.

Honest and thoughtful feedback helps drive meaningful change. At Busey, we routinely solicit feedback through several methods, including an Associate Engagement Survey.

Whether you partner with a third party, or establish your own, surveys are only the first step in measuring engagement. Once you have your baseline score, you must communicate it with colleagues and work one-on-one to discuss opportunities for improvement. These discussions also help further identify what matters most to associates and are the foundation for establishing a plan for the year(s) ahead.


The Opportunities


As you outline goals and objectives for engagement, consider what truly makes a great workplace. Whether through recognition, development or wellness, the opportunities to engage excellence among employees are endless. 


Being recognized for a job well done and career milestones is the foundation of any engagement program. Throughout the year, Busey recognize countless associates in a variety of ways—from Career Achievements and Associate Appreciation Month to Random Acts of Kindness Week.


Engaging employees through learning is also important, providing opportunities for them to grow with their diverse aspirations in mind. Consider formal training and development programs for associates at any stage in their career. Research reveals 56 percent of Human Resource professionals are investing more in training and development, according to the national survey “The Active Job Seeker Dilemma” by the research firm Future Workplace and Beyond, The Career Network.


From professional to physical, mental and emotional needs, build a culture of wellness by encouraging employees to lead a healthy lifestyle through comprehensive wellness programs. Through a robust suite of tools and resources, Busey promotes a healthy workplace, while, at the same time, fostering engagement among associates by entwining culturally-significant initiatives into these wellness efforts, such as volunteering routinely.


It is healthy for employees to be a part of something greater than themselves through community involvement. Encourage associates to get involved in their communities on an individual and corporate level. Busey dedicates the entire month of April to volunteer service during Community Promise Month and encourages associates to bridge needs year-round—through financial contributions, volunteerism and providing leadership to community organizations. 


The Culture


Associates are the lifeblood of every organization. Through engagement, organizations can provide a healthy, progressive work environment—enhancing morale and improving work-life balance for team members.


Whether you provide volunteer, learning, wellness and/or recognition opportunities, the goal of any engagement program is to help attract and retain the best and brightest team members. Engaged associates give more discretionary effort, and, in turn, create unforgettable experiences for customers and embrace community.


Amy Randolph is the chief of staff and executive vice president of Pillar Relations for Busey