An ongoing focus in the workplace is Employee Engagement. Why? Because when employees are engaged you will get quality work, long term employees and high productivity.  This results in the ability to succession plan, provide more to stock holders or to the bottom line and decreased usage of sick time and health plan costs.

Employee engagement is ultimately the extent to which an employee’s personal goals and interests align with the vision and goals of the company at which they are employed. [1]

There are a number of ways to increase employee engagement.  Although at first these ways may sound simple, it takes a level of dedication and resolve from the Senior Management team that often get pushed to the side when operations take precedence over strategy.

1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

We hear it all the time, and this hasn’t changed.  Communication at all levels of the organization is so important.  In order for employees to feel valued in the organization, no matter what position they might be in, they need to feel connected and significant through communication.  There is nothing worse than finding out about something important after the fact.  Communication should be consistent, should align with the values and mission of the organization and should be inclusive of all positions if possible.

 

2.  Share the Purpose, Vision and Mission of the Company

It is so important for employees to understand the “why” of the organization.  In understanding the why they can align with the purpose, put meaning to the reason they work and ensure they feel a fit with the company.

“An important turning point for employee engagement experts came with Daniel H. Pink’s Drive. The 2009 book argues that while it’s important to pay employees well, most carrot-and-stick motivators don’t work in the long term, because people get so fixated on the reward that they lose interest in the activity itself. What we really want in our jobs, Pink writes, is autonomy, the chance to get better at what we do, and a purpose that connects us to something larger.”[2]

 

3.  Regularly assess the Engagement of Employees

Many larger organizations do yearly or bi-annual surveys to assess the pulse of the organization.  Often though, participation rates can be low because of the length of the surveys, or a lack of understanding with the questions asked.  A survey can be kept short and sweet and can be as easy as using software such as Survey Monkey or using an external organization for collection and data analysis.  Most important of the survey, though, is to follow up and make change when able.  A survey with no response from Senior Management will result in a decline in employee engagement and a decrease in participation for future surveys.

Employee engagement is not insurmountable, but it is a daily practice. A practice of communicating change, communicating the purpose of the organization and allowing the employee to communicate their own purpose and engagement with the company.

[1] https://www.snacknation.com/guides/definitive-guide-employee-engagement/
[2] https://www.inc.com/magazine/201412/paul-keegan/the-new-rules-of-engagement.html

Guest Post by:
Desiree Stewart is a Human Resources Consultant that has worked in the Human Resources field for fifteen years.  She is currently employed at NorQuest College.
E-mail: desiree.stewart@norquest.ca

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