Employee Engagement – Part 1
The first and most important engager is creating a sense of ‘teaming’ – people who are dynamically able to come together to meet objectives. What this really speaks to is the psychological sense of belonging. If you can help the individuals in your team feel seen for who they are, then in turn employees feel like they can be their whole best self. With this comes a sense of being included and having a voice. It creates a shared vision and a roadmap for how everyone works to achieve team goals. Leaders should strive to create a sense of levity, lightness and liberty as appropriate to business and cultural values. Don’t assume that if you just push that little bit more that your people will be more successful. This may become self–defeating. Research suggests that what actually leads people to being more productive is a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where bonds are formed, where they can collaborate more and discuss conflict in constructive ways.
- Recruiting people that fit with the team’s shared values and work ethic.
- Celebrating team milestones, targets, and collective achievements.
- Seeking out opportunities for personal connections through collaborating, listening, and coaching.
- Being with your team emotionally, not just physically.
- Taking work, but not yourself, seriously.
Employee Engagement – Part 2
When it comes to engagement leaders need to strike the delicate balance between bored and overwhelmed employees. There’s a critical space in people’s psychology that feeds on progression and development. People who do best are those who are constantly making progress. The problem is that when employees have been in a job for a long time they use skills on a daily basis that aren’t being expanded in any real way. They begin to feel over competent – and over competence is a real risk factor for disengagement. Employees get bored and feel like there’s a lack of growth in career and life. Just as risky, though, is over challenge. Over challenge comes when employees feel like they’re always thrown into the deep end with no support and they always have to muddle through the next change, the next project, the next strategy refresh, and so on. It’s experienced as very stressful and employees never get to a place of competence, where their feet are on solid ground. The balance between over challenge and over competence is the sweet spot of engagement. And it starts by asking yourself: Is each member of the team working at the edge of his or her ability?
- Increasing inter–departmental communication so employees experience an expansion of their network and learning.
- Identifying opportunities to rotate and expand roles, including leadership and client–or customer-facing opportunities.
- Being involved in teaching a topic or leading a portion of a meeting or working session.
- Expanding skill sets through internal knowledge capture and sharing opportunities.
- Being open to learning from mistakes.
Employee Engagement – Part 3
Giving employees a degree of control over their working lives is key to a switched–on workforce, People become disengaged when their levels of empowerment and ownership are micromanaged on the job. This is in line with self–determination theory – an established research program in psychology that identifies the human craving for autonomy. It is really important for leaders to understand these themes in psychology and engagement research, and to try and focus on helping people – as far as possible – shape the way they do their jobs. This makes the working environment personal rather than enforced. And while hierarchy will always exist in business engaged teams are those which function openly and inclusively and allow all employees to make an impact.
- Creating a work environment that invites discussion and collaboration rather than dictating project work plans.
- Simplifying operating structures or flattening teams to enable accessibility and easier collaboration.
- Focusing on results and outcomes rather than face–time or attendance.
- Giving freedom to employees to set their own path to completion.
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