Recently there has been increased interest regarding employee engagement. Topics range from employee satisfaction to who ‘owns’ employee engagement to perceived value.
Why satisfaction isn’t the same
This is a recurring question among HR professionals. The answer is no. Satisfaction is a good indicator of an employee’s current mood or feeling, but it does not necessarily reflect behavior in the workplace. Engagement spans several types of desired behaviors like “putting in extra time and effort to get the job done” to some undesirable behaviors like “I am looking for another job.”
Whose problem is it?
Traditionally, ensuring employees are engaged was considered the responsibility of the manager. But some suggest that the employee should bear this responsibility. Employees are engaged when an organization provides them with the things they value (i.e., good compensation, benefits, work environment, etc.). Employers benefit from employees who go the extra mile. Since there is a mutual benefit to employee engagement, I believe that a shared responsibility is most logical.
When organizations measure Drivers of Engagement in a well-constructed Engagement survey, the organization and employees know what matters. There is no need to have employees brainstorm on what would increase or decrease their engagement level – the data will tell you. A better way to include employees is to involve them in developing solutions. Organizational leaders should not simply say, “This is how we will fix engagement.” Rather, they should get employees’ input on how the organization can do better on the Drivers that matter. Additionally, improving engagement does not mean you should give employees everything they want. Communicating with employees and helping them understand why things are a certain way is a valuable outcome of the survey and can mitigate many engagement issues.
The things they value
Start today on the path of increasing employee engagement within your company. Begin with something small. Remove some well-known irritant in the job. Just like removing a pebble from your shoe, it takes very little time but it makes life so much better. If there is one small thing that you could get (or give away), what would it be? In my IT world, developers appreciate faster laptops, bigger monitors, better software, training modules, and flexible work schedules. But the value of each item is the value perceived in the employee’s mind, and each person places a different intrinsic value on each option. NBA coach Phil Jackson was a master at motivation because he tailored it to his individual players. As a business leader, you must do the same with your workers.
Because really, whether we are basketball players or IT personnel, the goal is to win a championship. You can do that with a highly engaged and motivated work force.