Employee Engagement; hot topic with cold reality. Managers today are willing to do whatever it takes to engage their employees. Not everyone can afford to hire winners, and few are smart enough to hire potential winners. The rest are just praying. Through this article, let me take you through the understating of employee engagement. I hope it will add value to your everyday engagement initiatives.
Engagement is a ‘Must’ for any strategy
An engaged workforce is your only true competitive advantage. It is almost impossible to copy. Without it, execution of most strategic corporate initiatives becomes almost impossible.
Engagement doesn’t come in instant recipes
Because engagement is simple in concept, but difficult in execution, it is never achieved or finished — only improved. It might take years of steady progress to build high levels of employee engagement. Without the proper care and feeding, these gains can wither and fall away surprisingly quickly.
- Engagement comes from the ‘top’
Engagement is a business imperative, not an HR initiative, though HR should be a key player in driving higher levels of engagement. Support from the top also means senior leaders must be highly engaged themselves. Don’t get surprised as only one in four senior leaders, and only one in six frontline leaders, is highly engaged. It’s hard to imagine highly engaged employees without highly engaged leaders.
- To have highly engaged workforce, ‘hire’ such people at first
Certain people have a set of characteristics or attributes that increase their inclination for engagement. For example, some employees are more likely to have higher levels of engagement than others, regardless of the jobs they choose or assignments they receive. Companies should pay close attention to these characteristics in their hiring process.
- Engagement is all about alignment
People are more likely to be engaged if their jobs and the culture of the organization match both, their abilities and skills, and their motivation and values. Most organizations hire or promote only for the ability and skill match, ignoring the motivation and value match.
- ‘Show me the money’ with Engagement
Far too many organizations pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into measuring and re-measuring engagement, leaving little energy or budget for actually improving engagement levels. Keep your engagement measures simple and cost effective. Instead, spend your resources and energy moving the needle in the right direction!
- Engagement is ‘emotional’
Highly engaged employees give that extra effort because they care. They care, because they feel someone is caring for them. The recognition of the individual sends a powerful message to employees, that the organization understands, and appreciates that they have a life outside work.
A piece of advice: Get busy engaging, or pack your bags and find some other shop.