Figure 1. The six universal engagement drivers
Employee Engagement Drivers
Caring, Competent and Engaging Senior LeadersThe bottleneck is never at the bottom. Employee engagement starts with a senior leadership team that truly cares about employees, is committed to creating a great place to work, and is trusted by employees to lead them to future success. If you believe that your distrust or lack of confidence in senior leaders is causing you to be less engaged than you could be, consider the following actions you could take (independent of what senior leaders do): – Check out your perception of senior leaders with trusted peers, as you may be lacking important information or misperceiving their behavior. -When you present your ideas, be prepared with a specific plan for improvement, and volunteer to be a part of implementing the plan. – Focus as much as possible on building trust and confidence with your immediate manager. – When a leader asks for your input, ideas or support, be prepared to respond positively and take the initiative. – Demonstrate “ownership mentality”. Learn how the company makes money, seek to uncover unmet needs you can help address, and find out what you can do to help make it more profitable. – Give honest responses and constructive comments on employee surveys, especially about leadership-related issues.
Effective Managers Who Keep Employees Aligned and EngagedSenior leaders can’t do it alone. They need competent managers who also care about employees and help them stay motivated and aligned to where the company is going and to its current objectives. If you feel that some of your manager’s practices are causing you to be less engaged than you could be, consider the following list of actions you could take(independent of what your manager may do): – If you feel your manager is not giving you the feedback and coaching you need, ask for it. Make sure that as your manager is providing the information, that you are taking careful notes and ask questions about anything that is not clear. – Seek feedback on your performance from anyone with whom you interact, including customers, not just those who supervise you. – Get to know your manager’s top performance priorities and professional goals so you can better support them. – Take a more active role in your own performance planning and appraisal process by suggesting specific objectives and evaluating your own performance. These objectives need to be specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented and time bound. – If you feel your strengths are underutilized, discuss with your supervisor ways to use more of your strengths on the job and spend relatively less time trying to improve weaknesses.
Effective Teamwork at All LevelsGreat companies know that outstanding work isn’t done in a vacuum. It is done in a team environment where the individual members are encouraged and supported to be at their best. These winning companies reject “us versus them” in any form. – Get to know the other members of the team better. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses’ of each team member allows the team to get the most out of each individual. – Volunteer to assist other team members in challenging and stressful times. – Be willing to give and receive honest, constructive feedback. Take any feedback received as an opportunity to see yourself as others see you and take the necessary steps to improve your behaviors. – Quickly and genuinely apologize when you say or do something inappropriate or possibly damaging to the team. By taking responsibility for your actions, others will know that you are invested in the team. – Don’t sacrifice face-to-face communication by over relying on electronic communication. – Expand your network, get in the loop, and build relationships in other functional areas.
Job Enrichment and Professional GrowthWithin effective work teams, employees are not just allowed, but encouraged to do jobs they find satisfying and rewarding. They are also given plenty of opportunities to grow and develop in their current roles or future assignments. – Keep your focus on mastering your current job before you focus on advancement opportunities. – If you feel your current job or assignment is not a good fit for your strengths and interests, take the initiative to meet with your supervisor to discuss your ideas for changing jobs, changing the way the job is done, or swapping jobs or assignments with a coworker. – If your career path seems blocked, or you can see no advancement opportunities, seek lateral or cross-functional assignments. Imagine ways you could actually create a new job or new assignment for yourself that meets the needs of the company while better making use of your talents. – Explore the possibility of temporarily or permanently swapping jobs with a coworker
- Think twice before quitting your job. First, meet with your supervisor (or trusted coworker) to articulate your concerns, and ask for constructive ideas for resolving the situation.
- Establish a career interest profile- Let management know what you expect your career to look like short term and long term. Discuss with management, what roles are available to you.
- Take career development actions- Once you have identified a role, specific examples of development could include, education goals, coaching skills, technical skills enhancement, job shadowing, being a mentee, being a mentor, leading a team, etc.
Valuing Employee ContributionsAs employees work to contribute to the organization’s success, the company knows how to acknowledge, recognize, and reward them in ways that are most meaningful to the individual and relevant to organizational goals. – First and foremost, find out what your organization values and what specific results your supervisor expects from you. – Be honest with yourself as you consider whether you are willing to put forth the effort required to achieve those results. – Give value to get value: look for ways to share information and be a resource to coworkers. – Let your supervisor know what form of recognition (e.g., public versus private, written versus spoken) you most appreciate.
- If you see a need for additional tools or equipment to do your job better, first do a cost-benefit analysis before you approach your manager with your request.
- Look for and take advantage of recognizing your team members when appropriate. If your company has a recognition program, use it. If no program exists, an email or a simple thanks goes a long way.