A New Way to Think About Employee Engagement

An employee complains to the so-called Goodwill Committee Chairman that he does not feel the love

Employee engagement is about far more than what a “goodwill committee chairman” can provide. It used to be (and still is for many employee engagement firms) an annual process for finding out what employees disliked about their company and for trying to fix the causes of their dissatisfaction one-by-one. This approach is also fostered by many survey companies whose business model is about selling and running profitable surveys, not doing the actual work required to improve employee engagement, retention and performance based upon the survey results.

LSA believes that, to be effective, your employee engagement initiative must be strategic, systemic, and focus on the actions you will take from the beginning. It is time to think of engaging employees as an integral part of your overall business strategy. And, rather than a once-yearly, half-hearted approach to addressing issues after-the-fact, it is time to think of how to build the kind of organization that is meaningful, fulfilling, and exciting to be a part of.

In fact, engaged employees are a cornerstone of high performing organizations and become a key component of their competitive advantage. If employees love what they do and where they do it, they will treat customers and co-workers better, generate new ideas and continuously improve your business.

Employee engagement is a key factor in a company’s success. No matter how good your talent, if you can’t keep them productive and on the job, the entire organization is at risk.

How do you keep your top talent “feeling the love” and willing to make the extra effort?

1. First you need to know the heart and soul of your business. Define the organization’s mission and clearly articulate its values. Managers and leaders need to help create the organizational culture, buy into the values and live by them each and every day.

2. With your desired culture intact, you need to find the right talent…employees with the capabilities you need and the attitudes that support and thrive in your culture. Bring them aboard quickly and with a new hire onboarding program that allows them to contribute meaningfully as soon as possible.

3. Then you need to stay vigilant. Continuously measure, improve and adjust the work environment so they stay committed and become advocates of your company as a great place to work.

There are so many tweaks you can make. For example, does your culture require and appreciate structure and clear, transparent measures of performance? Then regular performance appraisals may be warranted. But if your culture is made up of workers who thrive on working independently, maybe it’s time to find another way to measure and manage your people. Or you can ask if the work space supports your desired organizational culture. If structure is valued, separate offices may make sense. But if teamwork and collaboration are what keep your talent happy, open offices and comfortable gathering spots may be preferred.

The point is that you need to know what your talent looks for in their work environment. Be observant, keep in close touch and ask often how things are going. When your high performers feel that you care and are responsive to their needs and wants, they will “feel the love,” be loyal and stay committed. This should be your goal with employee engagement.

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