What’s your workplace like?
We’ve visited some great workplaces, where everyone really enjoys working there, people are clearly involved in a common goal, everyone feels part of the team and treats each other with respect, everyone feels involved in how the work and the organisation is developing. You can read about some of these places in Engaging for Success. We found these places were usually characterised by four features, which we call our four enablers of employee engagement:
- Strong strategic narrative: a pithy and succinct story that every person in the organisation can tell, explaining the purpose of the organisation and how they fit in.
- employee voice, where leaders listen to employee concerns, invite ideas, and involve employees in decisions that affect the organisation and their work
- engaging managers, who make everyone feel part of the team, set clear goals, give regular feedback on performance, celebrate achievement, offer learning and development, and say ‘thank you’
- organisational integrity where leaders keep the promises they make or explain why they can’t.
But what if your workplace is like this?
Some of us work in places where change just happens, and no one ever explains why. In fact, no one even says that change is about to happen. You just go into work one day and your work has been reorganised. You haven’t been consulted, no one asks what you think, or whether you have a better idea, which seems strange as you are the one who knows the job inside out.
Some of us work in places where we wonder what our manager does all day, where we receive little or no feedback on how we are doing, where we learned the job from the last person that did it, and when we achieve something we know is a great success, no one says ‘thank you’, let alone celebrates it in front of the team or give us a reward.
Some of us work in places where we are always being promised things, but they never happen – a review of how shifts are organised, or pay!, a new fridge in the kitchen, better IT – and no one says why!
Some of us don’t want to go into work tomorrow, because we know we’ll be bullied again. It is unfair but no one is doing anything about it. We’re feeling stressed, and it is making us ill.
So how can you start to make a difference?
Here are some key questions to work through
- What do I want to change?
- How much do I want change?
- How much time and effort am I prepared to devote to change?
- How much do I believe I can bring about change?
- Who can I involve?
- Who can help?
- Who do I need to involve?
- What can we do 1st?
And what can Engage for Success do to help you?
Some challenging questions depending on the size of your organisation. So how can EFS help?
What you can do depends on the influence you have in your organisation.
But the influence you have isn’t dependent on your job or position in the organisation’s hierarchy. It’s about how you relate to others, who you get to know, the way you put your point across, and your ideas and persuasiveness. Sometimes, to make something happen, all that is required is that you are willing to do it. Sometimes all it takes is a simple suggestion to which others say ‘yes, what a great idea’. Everyone may have been thinking about it, but nothing happens till someone suggests it.
What do you feel comfortable doing to make a difference?
Perhaps you are the person who make your workplace more sociable: arranging for the team to have lunch together, go out for a drink or a meal after work; starting a book club; organising softball in the park, a running club, a quiz night.
Perhaps you could go further: volunteering to join colleagues asked to complete a particular task, such as job evaluations, or benchmarking reward and recognition payments or performance markings. Perhaps you could be the office champion for diversity and inclusion, an office relocation or employee wellbeing!
All this in itself is activity that can help make your workplace better and fairer. But equally it can be about establishing your voice, finding out who else is interested in making work a better place, and getting noticed by a key leader who can help you.
Your best start is often just to talk to colleagues and find out who is up for change, and who is content with the status quo. You don’t have to be a manager or a team leader to put up a notice or send an email offering a meeting of people who want to make work better. Find out who is willing to help and get talking together about what you want to do and what you can do. And if you want to talk in confidence to someone outside your organisation, join an Engagement Explosion Action Learning Set.
Sometimes we face issues at work where we need to draw on outside help and advice. If you want to: