Monday, February 27, 2012

Employee Engagement: What Does It Take?

Many employers are looking for ways to involve their staff in the vision and mission of an organization. Moreover, employers want staff to become inspired in the work that they do while producing results that reflect product excellence and market leadership. So, what's the problem?

Employee engagement is a choice, and many corporations are trying too hard.

In recent years, companies have spent significant amounts of time, energy, and financial resources in engagement programs, skills inventories, and performance measures tied to well-being. The result? Many are still finding employees disengaged with their work and watching the clock. How do employers add value and harness the talent that they hired?

Ultimately, employees must want to be engaged and should seek to better themselves by taking initiative. Employees that feel they are stuck can find solutions, and those that succeed use the innovation and problem solving skills they were hired for to seek out opportunities to make a difference. That being said, how can employers encourage the type of environment where employees want to come to work?


Foster creativity and initiative. Listen to ideas--even if you have tried the same idea in 12 different ways. Find a way to encourage the employee to use that idea in a different context or in a way that strategically adds value to the bottom line. Responses like "we've done that before" reek of disrespect and in no way promotes loyalty.


Communicating to and including employees in the movement of the organization is paramount. Employees who feel like they are a part of the decision-making and direction of the company, no matter the size of the contribution, willingly become engaged and ready to support the organization's needs.


Sit down with your employees one at a time. Ask for feedback, and don't be afraid of the responses. The very act of initiating time with staff will reflect your desire to see them succeed and will underscore your reason for hiring them in the first place. Be sure to place the responsibility of engagement on the employee while fostering an environment that supports it.

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