6 flavour enhancers to spice up employee engagement
(by Joris and Katrien)
Is employee engagement the latest wonder drug for business success?
You sure might get the impression after reading the countless articles about this topic!Methods and exact figures may differ, but the conclusions of all research are remarkably consistent : organisations with high levels of employee engagement have increased profitability, higher productivity, better employee retention and more satisfied customers.
The same studies show that not even 1/3 rd of all employees are engaged. No wonder that companies are looking for ways to improve engagement of their staff.
There is not one recipe for engagement. According to William Khan who introduced ‘employee engagement’ in 1990, all engagement starts with these 3 ingredients : meaningfulness, safety and availability.
Indra Partners add 6 flavour enhancers to these ingredients : vision, goal, care, encouragement, transparency and time.
Meaningfulness : vision & goal
Meaningfulness refers to the intrinsic motivation employees and managers get out of their job.
This motivation increases when employees are proud of the company they are working for, its reputation and the products and services that it offers to the customer.
Organisations with a strong and explicit vision automatically attract new candidates for employment. That vision should embody more than a few value slogans on a recruitment site. Employees want to feel good about their leaders : they should embrace and carry out the vision. But you can also encourage employees to tell their own story : let them explain how they live their company’s values and how they contribute to the realisation of its strategy.
Most employees like to know what is expected from them. They are happy to identify with a company’s strategy if they get a good understanding of their own goals and how these are tied to the bigger picture. More important than the yearly round of setting smart objectives is a meaningful dialogue with each employee to answer this question : how can I use my talents for the benefit of my organisation ?
Safety: care & encouragement
How do colleagues get along ? Can they trust each other ? How do managers deal with their employees ? What do employees tell their manager and what do they keep for themselves ?
Safety depends on the answer to these questions. Safety is the sense of whether you feel free to show your whole self at work.
If you have nice colleagues at work you will probably be more engaged. Being able to speak freely, receiving autonomy, being allowed to show yourself as you are will enhance engagement.
Even more important is a manager who cares. This type of manager shows appreciation. This type of manager helps you to develop yourself, supports you when you are being criticised, is not shy to give positive feedback and is genuinely interested in what occupies you.
Feedback is useful and necessary. Encouragement is better. Encouragement makes employees grow, it helps them to take more initiatives and to find innovative solutions. Success begets success. You stimulate employees by providing education and coaching on the job, by having them solve issues on their own and by delegating in a sensible way.
Availability : transparency & time
Employees only invest themselves fully if they feel that they possess all the necessary resources to carry out their tasks. Availability not only involves material resources. Knowledge, time and room for emotions are as important.
Informed employees identify more strongly with their company than those who are not. Information increases a sense of ownership. Be open and transparent about what’s happening in your organisation. Don’t be afraid to share less positive figures and think about the way you communicated them.
Encourage open communication among your employees. Ask them for their opinions. Listen to these with an open mindset and show what you have done with their ideas. Communicate timely : in that way you will avoid setting the rumour mill in motion or people having to hear about important information from news media.
If you provide enough time for your employees to do the job well, they will be motivated to make use of all their talents. Even more important than the quantity of time is that you allow them to plan their own day. Companies that implemented new ways of working have noticed that increased autonomy has a positive effect on engagement .
Giving time to your employees also means enough time for a life outside work. It includes making time to celebrate success: “If you want something to grow, pour champagne on it“.
Now mix it all together
Three basic ingredients and 6 flavour enhancers, is that enough to brew engagement ? Indra Partners thinks it is. Moreover, these 6 spices have one thing in common : they have the power to build a connection. They connect individual strengths with the organisation strategy, they connect managers with their employees and employees with their team.
Connected learning is the common thread in all our trainings and workshops. We connect the resulting engagement with the service to your customers. That’s how employee engagement will generate business success for your organisation.