When an organisation says employee engagement is a priority and employees are their best asset, then the care and support of their employees should be a strategic priority
Though engagement begins with each of us as individuals (and is subjective), it is extremely important at the organisational level to demonstrate it as a priority. We don’t check our personalities at the door when we come to work and how the organisation treats us impacts our engagement levels directly. When we know we are respected as individuals at work, it can have a significant impact on how we view our lives. Engagement builds when we recognise how our unique set of beliefs, talents, goals and life experiences drive our performance, personal success and well-being.
Emotionally Intelligent leaders get to know their employees as people, not just their functions. Communication and engagement levels improve when we feel we are known and understood as a person. Each interaction has the potential to influence our engagement levels and inspire us to use our discretionary effort (or not), thus impacting the organisation’s bottom line.
5 strategies to support Employee Participation and help build engaged employees in your organisation:
1. Translate real communication into action.
Picking the right Employee Engagement survey makes a difference. When we ask our employees for their opinions, those employees expect us to take action and not just file them away. A mistake we can make in our bid to build an engaged organisation is using employee surveys to collect data that is irrelevant or impossible to act on. Any survey data we collect must be specific, relevant and actionable for the employees concerned.
2. Engagement needs to be two-way.
Real change happens at the team level, but it is driven by the example set from the leaders at the top. The biggest Employee Engagement benefits happen when managers and employees feel empowered to make a significant difference in their immediate work environment. As leaders and managers we need to work with our employees to identify barriers to engagement and seek opportunities to create positive change.
3. Hire the right managers for culture development.
Not everyone can be a great manager. The best managers get that their success, and that of the organisation, relies on their employees’ achievements. Emotionally Intelligent managers seek to understand each team member’s strengths and provide them with every opportunity to use their strengths in their role. According to Gallup great managers empower their employees, recognise and value their contributions and actively seek their ideas and opinions. Great managers are those with a talent for interpersonal relationships, and selecting people who have this talent is important part of building the culture of the organisation. Whether promoting from within or hiring in, businesses that hire managers for the skill of being able to effectively manage people greatly increases the odds of engaging their employees.
4. Share engagement goals in a relatable format.
Engagement goals need to be meaningful and related to employees’ day-to-day experiences. If the goals are too theoretical or lofty they lose impact and can become confusing. When we describe success using relatable descriptions and emotive language employees can relate to, it helps give meaning and build commitment. These discussions need to be an ongoing, regular part of the work week and not a once a year survey. Build these discussions into the culture of your organisation on a group and one-to-one level.
5. Coach and support managers to build engagement.
Managers cannot build engagement unless they understand the components of engagement and have the support to make change happen. Gallup’s research has shown that managers have the greatest impact on their employees’ engagement levels. Organisations need to coach managers to take active steps to build engagement plans with their employees. We need to empower, support and hold our managers accountable to ensure that they continuously focus on actively engaging their employees. Gallup has found that the most successful managers view the answers employees give to their Q12 Employee Engagement survey as the core elements for great managing, not just questions for measuring. These questions can be a powerful framework to guide the creation of a strong, engaged workplace.
The most effective managers and leaders strategically align their employee engagement efforts and communicate these ideas though their actions daily. They repeatedly acknowledge and share best practice in the form of stories across the organisation. They use a variety of communication channels to reinforce the organisation’s commitment to employee engagement.
The most effective manager and leaders walk their Employee Engagement talk
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