12 Oct

Employee Engagement

We have heard it over and over.  “We have to work on establishing a more engaged workforce.”  “We have to get our employees more engaged”   What does that mean?  Let’s define Employee Engagement.  Employee Engagement is nothing more than the extent the individual chooses to apply their knowledge, skills, and abilities toward an effort.  I invite your attention to three words “the individual chooses.”

What does that mean?

In many organizations, Employee Engagement is based on the belief that the organization must make the employee happy. Happy in their work, happy with their pay and benefits, happy… In essence, it makes the organization responsible instead of the employee.  In fact, you could say it pretty much takes the employee out of the equation and makes leadership and management decide for the employee.

“…Engagement is based on the belief that the organization must make the employee happy.”

A recent Gallup survey says that disengaged employees are at their highest level ever. A quote from that Survey report says “Of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs, 30 million (30%) are engaged and inspired at work…. At the other end of the spectrum are roughly 20 million (20%) employees who are actively disengaged. The other 50 million (50%) American workers are not engaged. They’re just kind of present, but not inspired by their work or their managers.”

 So what do you do?

You engage your workforce in finding out what they want from work and the relationship with the company.  Leaders, Managers, Supervisors involve themselves with all employees and find out the answer to the following:

  • Do they want pay tied to performance (individual, team, company);
  • Do they want flexible work schedules for arranging family and other personal desires?
  • How do they want to be recognized for their efforts?
  • What are their personal and professional goals?
  • What matters to them and how does that match, if at all, with what matters with the company?

It isn’t about how much money you spend, and it isn’t about how many people are happy because of it.  It is about a joint effort with a shared reward that brings everyone to a commonplace.  Further, it is unique to each organization, each culture.  I know that sounds like Workforce Planning, and it is.  It is the early stage steps of a Workforce Planning process.

Good employee engagement efforts are a combination of common processes and individual paths.  It means that getting the employee involved in the process ensures that BOTH the company and the employee are working together.  It also means creating an environment where employees feel they are valued, you demonstrate that value to them and you invest in their growth and future development.

Will this fit 100% of your workforce?  No, and do not think for a minute something will.  What it does is ensure that the majority of efforts are focused on one thing…improving.  That one thing can be defined by anyone and everyone…themselves, the company, the workplace, their team…it doesn’t matter.