Advances in technology, changes in economics, and a shift in the social and demographic talent agenda have presented an array of opportunities to businesses. These varying and complex forces have put pressure on companies and its development of business goals. These changes are not slowing down and in fact, it affects all channels of your organization, and most importantly, your workforce. Employees have to adapt to these changes with agility and sustain their ability to cope and rise to these challenges. How do you attract and retain capable employees as such, anyway?
Ensuring your employees’ stable psychological states and right behaviors despite the complexity of the business environment now and in the future should be a point of focus for every company. This can be achieved by recognizing the importance of employee engagement in your organization.
Employee engagement is often misconstrued as solely organizing group activities by human resources. It is more than surveys or get-togethers! Employees need to be heard, valued and guided, not only for their well-being but also for the organization’s enhanced productivity and financial outcomes. It is releasing the potential and capabilities of employees, and enriching their psychological and behavioral state, which leads to better work performance.
This can be done by creating a culture of engagement within your organization, one that recognizes the value of the company’s brand and reputation, honor strong leadership, empowering performance, securing the basics, and integrating company practices. Here are the steps:
1. Understand the trends affecting the business
The irony of having innovation, for instance, is the challenges it brings. It is often disruptive! Not all people embrace change gracefully; most employees have an aversion to it! That also goes for companies who rollout new policies in the workplace. It is critical for company leaders to identify these trends and connect how these challenges are affecting workforce demographics, behavior and performance. Then create a compelling and strategic narrative (secure your brand and reputation) that will guide people in change.
2. Build engaging managers
This is crucial! Not all managers realize the importance of their role in creating an engaged culture. Some view it as ‘just another HR initiative’ while others think ‘I’ve got no time for this kind of stuff.’ ENGAGING EMPLOYEES is BUSINESS TOO! And can drive the sales and revenue you are aiming for.
According to 2014 Trends in Global Employee Engagement, companies that display significantly stronger culture marked by strong leadership and employee engagement (among others) have outperformed the average company on revenue growth, operating margin and total shareholder return.
Managers set the tone for the importance of leadership and excellence. They cultivate and develop talent. The managers become the VOICE and the medium that sends the ‘strategic narrative’ to your talent, managers make sure it reaches them and they understand the change that is/will be happening.
Managers who make time to engage themselves and their team better understands employees’ psychological and behavioral state, and effectively strategizes how to collaborate with employees to provide solutions to challenges. Their leadership influences the culture of the organization and drives the company and its people to growth and better financial outcomes.
3. Align business goals to engagement
Companies need to drive a holistic approach with regard to employee engagement. Before jumping to the fun and active part though, it is best to understand and ensure all basics are covered. In all cases, benefits and incentives for employees must be well-placed. After all, why would employees bother to cooperate with your objectives if you can’t provide these foundational elements?
When campaigning for engagement behavior among your employees, it is vital to create tasks that will engage them for productivity. Of course, this aims to generate results based on your business goals. Clarifying the behaviors you expect from them is a prerequisite for their engagement. Aligning goals and performance to what the organization wants to accomplish, rewards and recognition employees want to receive, and learning and development staff want to achieve will vary by business and job profile. But this will enable and boost employees’ energy and efforts –management too.
4. Recognize and respond to employee voice
In creating an engaged culture, your company needs to create a strong sense of listening. People need to speak out and it is ok for them to challenge business goals and decisions. Employee views must be sought-out and listened to in a timely manner. If there are ideas from employees that can’t be adopted, company needs to provide explanation. This way, an effective and active communication is enabled.
Employee voice reinforces views and must be seen by organizations as proactive; it can make a difference and can influence the future.
5. Keep organization’s integrity secured and intact
Employees can see through corporate spin better than the public. A company culture that is based on lies or half-truths can’t expect honest and engaged behavior from its staff. Organizational integrity is based on trust. It is when the values within the company’s premises are reflected in day-to-day performance. There is no engagement without trust.
Real employee engagement happens when employees are willingly and/or unconsciously maximizing their value to and for the organization. Companies must engage their talent in the right behavior for the future game changers, industry disruptions and innovations. And this can only be done through creating strong, healthy and engaging cultures backed up by organizational integrity, leadership excellence and value for people voice and performance.