If You’re Struggling with Employee Engagement, Try Stepping Back and Getting Personal 

The Engage for Success website provides many good reasons and lots of evidence for using employee engagement as an approach for achieving organisational success.  But, from talking to leaders, managers and employees, it’s obvious some organisations are struggling to make engagement work for them.

If you’re struggling, or just want to make sure you’re on the right path, try…

Taking a Step Back

Making anything work is difficult if you don’t know what it’s going to look like when you’re finished, but many organisations don’t have a definition of what an engaged employee looks like.  Even if leaders can describe it, most people in the organisation don’t understand what it means for them.

I like to describe an engaged employee as, someone who wants to do their best for their customers and colleagues and be their best within the organisation. You’ll probably want your own definition, but the most important thing is to have one, communicate it and help people understand what it means in practice.

It also helps to understand why you’re building an engaged workforce.  Wanting a happy and stimulating place for everyone to work is great, but isn’t it a means to an end for your organisation, rather than the end itself?

Identifying and communicating your true intent will help your people understand why it’s important.  It will also mean you can put in place the right measures and indicators to check that you’re focusing on the right things to build engagement and that they’re working.

When that’s sorted, it’s time to…

Get Personal

People decide with their heads and hearts whether they feel engaged or not.  It will look and feel different to every person in the organisation and each of them will respond in a unique way to however you try to build engagement.

Engagement therefore needs to be personal (“Belonging to or affecting a particular person rather than anyone else” – oxforddictionaries.com).  There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Success depends on each person in the organisation understanding…

  • Who their customers and colleagues are
  • What the customers and colleagues require and expect from them
  • What that means for them in terms of doing their best
  • How they can do their best, and be their best within the organisation
  • What’s in it for them

…and feeling that they are ready, able and willing to do and be their best.

But that won’t happen unless you…

Build Compelling Connections

Engagement is built and maintained between an employee and their manager.

The organisation’s leaders and Human Resources team have a critical role to play in creating the conditions that will enable successful engagement, but your managers need to be:

  • Building compelling connections that help each person feel ready, able and willing to do and be their best.
  • Using measures, indicators and other insight to check whether it’s working.
  • Responding appropriately to what the measures, indicators and insight are telling them.

Taking a step back to confirm your reasons for engagement, and then making sure you’re enabling your managers to get personal and build compelling connections, will set you up for success.

Author: Geoff Dodds, Director, connect2perform.co.uk

Image courtesy of contrastwerkstatt at Fotolia.

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