Over the past couple of years, challenging economic conditions have required organizations to tighten belts and do more with less. While we all accept these measures as necessary for survival, the added stress on rank-and-file employees has been excruciating. Leaders need to do all they can to ensure they foster an engaged workforce that will continue to move forward in spite of the challenges that lie ahead. Those that can pull people together will survive and thrive when times improve.
What is employee engagement?
The difference between engaged and disengaged employees may seem to be a matter of style or personality, but they are based on decisions rooted in loyalty and commitment to one or more levels of the organization. Disengaged employees not only negatively impact the bottom line, but they also misrepresent an organization and its culture.
There are three different levels that can be identified as locations of engagement in the workplace:
1. Organizational – Mission, core values and overall strategy of the
2. Managerial – Leaders and managers in the organization.
3. Employee – Front-line employees and teams
Addressing engagement at each of these unique levels requires different actions. The remainder of this report will examine the different ways leaders can address engagement and motivate employees to be more committed and excited about their daily tasks.
1. Engagement at the organizational level
Improving employee engagement at the organizational level is strategic and tactical. Before you can attempt to change your organizational culture, you first must examine the current culture of your organization. An organization’s culture is its unique personality: the company’s core values, ethics and norms. The mission, vision, and strategy of your organization are important in identifying whether or not the culture of your organization supports engagement.
After identifying and defining your organization’s culture, you will need to implement five different actions that will help improve engagement at the organizational level:
Hold employees accountable
Commit to developing your employees
2. Engagement at the managerial level
Recognizing that the actions of senior leadership, managers, and supervisors are the key drivers of engagement, the act of engaging should be a part of every leader’s job profile and leadership skill set.
Engagement may not be solely an internal motivation issue. There are job factors that affect the engagement of every employee. Ask yourself these questions: * Do I have the right people in the appropriate leadership positions? * Is leadership development an issue? * Is it both of the above?
3. Engagement at the employee level
One way to increase engagement at the employee level is to make sure you have the employee in a position where they can thrive and grow. This will result in greater productivity and commitment. To survive the demographic changes in the workforce you must rethink your workforce strategies and transform your management and human resource practices to attract, engage, and retain workers of all ages.
Target engaged employees: A target employee is one who has a good fit to his or her current job, is fully engaged on-the-job, and whose performance exceeds your expectations. The target employee not only
achieves the goal, but has the ability to elevate the performance of other employees, team members, departments, and divisions.
Challenge and train employees: You may also need to think differently about challenging your employees. Research shows that managers are up to four times more engaged than front-line employees. This is due to the additional challenges managers face. Provide your employees with stretch goals, avoid micromanaging, and let them learn from their mistakes.
In order for employees to remain engaged, they need to be continuously stimulated. Every new experience you create for your employees is an opportunity for growth.
Bringing it all together
It is impossible to create a culture of engagement without knowing the personality and characteristics of your employees and managers. Leaders must be aware of the engagement levels of their employees.
Assessments provide an opportunity to learn more about each employee and how they fit into their job and the organization.