The Engaged Workforce: Time to put a ring on it?
“Cause if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it.”
This line from the chorus of Beyoncé’s Grammy Award winning song “Single Ladies” likely represents the sentiments of many of today’s ex-employees.
Leading firms AON Hewitt and Deloitte Human Capital experts have confirmed that across the globe in 2016, engagement levels are on the decline. With the ever-increasing need for a superior people experience, organisations would do well to take note of effective ways to boost engagement.
Taking the AON Hewitt Engagement Model as an example, they define employee engagement as “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organisation.”
What are the key words here?
Psychological investment. This speaks to the mental and emotional devotion of energy that your people give of themselves.
At Kin Space, we simplify engagement identification through understanding: How are your people behaving? Where are they headed? How are they tracking?
What is driving behavior, how is it impacting, and how do we address it?
What development pathways have been made clear to your people as individuals and as contributors to organisational success?
How are your people achieving in relation to their individual and team milestones?
British movement Engage For Success has highlighted four enablers their research suggests are essential if your organisation is authentically seeking to build engagement. We explore our take on them in the following paragraphs.
A clear strategic narrative:
For any highly engaged organisation, it is evident that there is a collectively held common cause which people can stand behind, giving a greater sense purpose. Most importantly it acts as a highly effective tool to calibrate organisational direction. This in turn provides all members of an organisation grounds with which to hold each other to account.
A shared understanding for all stakeholders (existing and potential) of organisational values and direction will lessen the degree to which people are disengaged by systems and process problems. To achieve authentic buy-in into the shared understanding requires a considered voice of the people — more on that shortly.
Once an organisation has mastered its carefully considered narrative, it then has the opportunity to build upon these foundations through its people. To develop engaging managers (whom we refer to as leaders of self), requires active demonstration from the top tiers of leadership within the organisation. Consistency of interaction with their people becomes instinctive for leaders of teams throughout the organisation.
Leaders that are engaging typically will provide their teams with clearly defined roles and clarity on what success looks like. We are for the most part all wired the same as human beings.
The more we are acknowledged in real time and coached on a frequent basis, the more we feel a sense of accomplishment, inspiring us to repeat good behaviour as opposed to being reprimanded for areas of development within our performance.
This said, it is important to address this behaviour through understanding key drivers. Framing conversations this way taps into people’s limbic brain. Rather than telling someone what they have done wrong (which they most likely are acutely aware of), showing a genuine desire to address root cause will enable sufficient completion to move forward.
Earlier we touched on a ‘shared understanding’ of what collectively an organisation believes (why they exist). This is only possible through the third enabler of people engagement. A genuine and applied contribution from all levels of an organisation that delivers on strategy will foster the free flowing of ideas and energy between and across teams.
The inherent trust built within an organisation can often be measured by the cooperation of employees – do they have your back? The challenge here for the CEO is to foster consistent engagement with front line employees to stay “in touch”. An environment where departmental leaders frequently engage in feedback loops with their teams will inspire greater cooperation.
The fourth enabler for successful engagement comes in the form of integrity. The say AND do approach. When we live and breathe company values we are far more influential. True integrity may seem out of reach for many if there is not a common understanding and commitment is enforced no matter the circumstances.
It is much more achievable if we are simply transparent and intervene the moment we know we cannot honour an initial commitment. The key here is to take ownership by preempting any fallout and offering to minimise the impact on the other party.
The cost of not doing so is one of the quickest routes to mistrust and disengagement — it is far simpler to build trust than it is to win it back!
*How do you maintain trust and engagement through your people?
Blog Tags: Engagement, Direction, Performance