Leaders and organizations are constantly seeking ways to increase their employee engagement. Managers, human resource professionals and even front line employees approach employee engagement from their own angles, here are a few examples that might sound familiar:
Managers – seek to provide flexible work hours, allowing employees to work from home part of the week, providing developmental opportunities.
Human Resource Professionals – seek to create wellness programs, employee events to create fun (holiday parties, birthday celebrations, etc.), employee contests.
Employees – seek higher wages, training opportunities, career growth opportunities, etc.
Are these approaches wrong? Of course not. All of these things can promote employee loyalty, and help create and shape a healthy company culture. However employers should ask themselves the following:
- Are our efforts addressing the indicators that create employee engagement?
- How are you defining employee engagement?
- Are you focusing on activities that give you the highest ROI towards achieving employee engagement?
- Are you measuring your efforts and using the correct indicators?
Employee engagement is an employee’s emotional and psychological commitment to their roles and the organization, which goes beyond traditional loyalty. This begs the question: How is your organization leveraging the talent in your employees and connecting this talent to each employee’s role?
In Gallup’s article, “A Purpose Has to Be a Lot More Than Words,” they share: “Only about one-third of the U.S. workforce strongly agrees that the mission or purpose of their company makes them feel their job is important…” Gallup Polls
One of the most effective ways to employee engagement is to help create a strong connections between the talent in each employee and the purpose of the organization. Each employee has to feel that that their role is connected to the purpose of the organization and that isn’t easily achieved through most of the traditional approaches shared above.
As the leaders of an organization make the purpose of the organization known they must also share what the measurements of success look like. Here are some ways employee engagement can be re framed by the parties we listed above:
Managers – guide employees in drawing clear connections between their natural talents, their roles and how their roles support the measurements of success that make the organizational purpose a reality. Support unique developmental opportunities that encourage a strong fit between the employee’s talents and strengths and the new role.
Human Resource Professionals – establish sustainable training initiatives that equip managers to make those connections and recruit talent into the organization that not only considers skills/experience for hiring, but encompasses a broader fit into the organizational identity and culture. Help the organization design career paths and growth opportunities for the workforce that are creative and move beyond moving “up the ladder,” which isn’t always aligned with the talents of employees.
Employees – Contrary to typical beliefs, employees themselves are also responsible for their own engagement. The manager is the most influential role in employee engagement, but this doesn’t take away from an employee’s personal ability to play a part in their engagement and success. They can study what conditions during their work day take them to be most engaged and disengaged and take initiative to replicate those conditions and ask for what is needed to create those circumstances.