Gallup researchers have been studying employee engagement for more than a decade. The results are consistent and clear. Improve your employee engagement and you’ll improve your bottom line…significantly.

This chart from Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report tells a big story. Work units with engaged employees outperform those with disengaged employees in every area Gallup studied, including 20% greater sales and 21% higher profitability.

But there’s a problem. Worldwide, only 13% of employees are engaged at work. The figure jumps to 33% in the United States, still leaving plenty of room for improvement. So, how do you foster employee engagement? Gallup offers five suggestions:

1.    Use the right employee engagement survey

2.    Focus on engagement at the local and organizational levels

3.    Select the right managers

4.    Coach managers and hold them accountable for employee engagement

5.    Define engagement goals in realistic, everyday terms

Those are all good ideas but for most businesses, it’s just too much to take on. Still, even the smallest organizations can hit most of those points simply by adopting a common language like V-REEL. A value-driven mnemonic aimed at teaching strategic thinking skills, V-REEL prompts the individual, planner, or problem solver to consider Value, Rareness, Erosion, Enablers, and Longevity.

Each V-REEL term connects back to the fundamental principle that individuals and organizations must create value and maintain some degree of rareness to remain competitive in the marketplace. Apply that concept at the individual level and you get employees and managers talking about individual contributions to the team. Apply it at the department level, and departments start identifying and even anticipating eroding factors and recommending enablers to keep troubles at bay. Individual and organizational longevity remains top of mind as part of the normal consideration of issues…which in itself can help extend competitive advantage.

Common Language Drives Strong Culture

As I’ve worked with both for-profit and non-profit organizations using the V-REEL framework in planning sessions, I’ve noticed that the language of V-REEL seems to permeate company culture, facilitating communication and innovation well after the strategic planning retreat.

Frankly, the rapid widespread adoption of the language within organizations we’ve served has surprised us, but now that we’ve seen the impact (turns out all of those organizations are also doing quite well), it makes sense to offer a more intentional approach to using V-REEL to foster that ever-valuable employee engagement.

We’ve packaged some of our free resources here to get you started with these three simple steps to improve employee engagement and your bottom line.

  1. Get everyone speaking the same language – Adopt the language of V-REEL to encourage a culture of value creation that’s focused on meeting real customer needs and anticipating factors that might erode the company’s ability to compete.
  2. Orient every new employee with V-REEL – Get acquainted, introduce the company culture, set expectations, and encourage future engagement with the V-REEL Yourself worksheet. Our clients that are onboarding with V-REEL say it’s a great tool for self-discovery and promotes dialogue (a great form of early and meaningful engagement).
  3. Commit to quarterly check-ins at the department level – Expect managers to present meaningful, well-thought-out input on departmental and organization operations and opportunities. Encourage them to use V-REEL to guide team discussions and present outcomes to management.

Of course, the key to all of this is top-level engagement, meaning you too need to be prepared to adopt V-REEL. But here’s what we’ve noticed…it happens naturally. The language gets in your head and shows up in conversations, which are both productive and efficient. Middle managers ask good questions, bring ideas that are refined and clearly articulated. For you, V-REEL provides the framework for objective feedback, setting the stage for coaching managers and holding them accountable…leading to engaged employees, better culture, better bottom line.