Employee engagement has become a business buzz term lately. Why are we hearing about it so much, and does it really matter? After all, you have selected and hired employees who bring not only the appropriate skills set, but also are able to work well with their team, right? Here's what author, Judith Bardwick, PhD says about employee engagement: "Gaining employee commitment results in greater profits because enthusiastic employees stay, contribute discretionary effort, and engage customers. Performance soars when customers are enthused and stay and when executives, managers, and employees are a collaborative team, united in achieving common goals."
If we follow Dr. Bardwick's lead, then the logical conclusion is that ignoring employee engagement leads to leaving profits on the table! Here is how you can shift focus and start to engage the workforce in your organization.
Engage First-Line Leaders
The impact of first line supervisors can't be overstated. These employees are often an underutilized tool in spreading employee engagement through the ranks. Get these employees involved by developing their ability to lead (and therefore engage) team members. In recent years, the 360-degree assessment has taken the place of a more subjective one-on-one job review and also provides the foundation for their development. These assessments provide a balanced view of performance and build trust between management and staff.
There is now doubt that an actively engaged workforce is the result of committed leaders. Engagement must be included in executive objectives. because engaging first-line leaders will follow only after executives have led the march. What can they do? Identify communication ambassadors within the company who can help transmit the company's messages; supply engagement ambassadors with direct channels and information; and provide consistent information directly from the CEO that should be communicated with all employees.
Develop a Motivational Culture
While many leaders cringe at the thought of potential budget issues related to employee development, organizations can implement a few key employee development programs and assessments and gain maximum results by publicizing the efforts, consistently communicating regular updates about initiatives and changes that affect employees and providing opportunities for employees to be part of the their own development and engagement process.
The Takeaway: Engagement leads to profit and profit, wisely publicized and communicated, leads to to engagement.