A Personal Note from Allison:
I love this time of year. The leaves are changing colour, the weather is cooler and crisper. Now that summer has turned to fall, many businesses are looking at ways to develop their employees. This is a hot topic for a number of my clients right now. I decided to “engage” them in conversations around Employee Engagement, as this is an arena through which a lot of development can naturally occur. It is also the topic for this month’s newsletter, as it something I feel very strongly about, and encourage all business owners to embrace and take full advantage of.
We hear a lot of chatter about Employee Engagement these days, and not just in the Human Resources community. What is it? And more importantly… Why should it matter to you?
Let’s start with the WHAT:
Employee Engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals. They believe in the work the company is doing, share its values and want to be a contributor. This is not just a paycheque to them. Every day they show up and work towards the organization’s goals.
Why should this matter to you?
When an employee cares about their organization and the work they are doing – they are engaged. When an employee is engaged, they will give you their discretionary effort. They will not watch the clock and leave at 5:00 on the dot, even though another 15 – 20 minutes worth of work could finish up an important project.
Employees who are engaged are always thinking of ways to improve what they do in the workplace. Perhaps they are thinking about how to make something your organization does, better. Or faster. Or whatever would please your customers. All of this engagement and discretionary effort is for the benefit of your business (and your bottom line). It is the leading factor of performance and competitiveness.
Engaged employees do not just impact the work that is done (although that is pretty awesome!), they also really care about their coworkers and their work environment. They are the ones who will pitch in to assist a coworker who is maybe a bit behind on a project, or needs some help brainstorming to solve a problem. They are the ones who will clean up a mess on the floor, rather than just step over it and keep walking (even though it’s not their job).
How do you boost employee engagement?
Employee engagement, as stated above, is defined as “the emotional commitment an employee has to their organization and its goals”. How do you get there?
You need to understand your people. The only way you can do this is to talk to them. Get to know them. What are their values? What are their goals? Show your employees that you value their contributions, that you respect them. An employee who feels respected and valued in the workplace, is going to feel “connected”.
Empower your employees. Establish the goals and timelines, then give employees the autonomy to get the work done. When employees feel empowered, they will go to great lengths not to let you down!
Involve your employees. If there are problems that need solving, involve the people most affected. Brainstorm with them to solve the problem. Let them be involved in the decision-making process. The more involved your employees are in this process, the more ownership they will feel over the outcome.
Celebrate ALL the successes – not just the big ones. Even small successes deserve acknowledgement. All of these celebrations build confidence, and make employees feel valued.
Employee engagement is not a “one and done” activity. It is an ongoing, living element of your business. You need to commit for the long-haul, in order to reap the benefits. There are a lot of engagement activities you can do throughout the year that will connect your employees to the heart of your business and have them contributing their discretionary effort.
I invite you to connect with me, to learn more on this topic, and how I can help you maximize Employee Engagement in your workplace.