Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Rules of Engagement

According to an October 2013 Gallup study, one in eight, or 13% of employees, are engaged with their work.  However, the bulk of the employees in the study, 63%, are “not engaged.”  Employee engagement is important for organizational success. So how does an organization keep its employees engaged in their work and engaged with their organization? Astronology explores some areas to consider when creating an engaging workplace.

1. Start by engaging with potential candidates at the recruitment stage.

A strong, reliable, and smooth recruitment process is important for ongoing talent management. The UK mobile network “3” decided to move its recruitment measures to an online platform nearly 10 years ago with the hopes that employees would have a positive and consistent experience with the company starting at initial contact. Prompt contact with candidates gave 3 an edge in its highly competitive market. Part of their online recruitment process gave candidates the ability to track their application status at every stage of the process. Their online system also allowed 3 to record, keep on file, and identify potential candidates who may not match the jobs initially applied for, but could be potential matches for other positions that may become available at a later date.  The system opened communication between candidates and the organization...creating an engaging environment before the hiring process.

2. Provide regular and consistent performance management.

The annual performance review with the employee should not be viewed as an “administrative burden.” The employee should feel as though he / she is valued for his / her contributions to the organization. The performance review is a way for employers to demonstrate to employees that they are valued and recognized for their hard work. It also allows the employees to see that there is a communication channel they can use to share their concerns and ideas.

3. Get to know what your employees are thinking.

The use of employee opinion surveys is one way to get to know what the employees think of their current work environment.  Companies such as Recreational Equipment (REI) have become creative, designing an online social media platform called “company campfire” where employees can voice their concerns and opinions.  As our world becomes more technical, being inventive in opening communication channels may set in motion the motivation for employees to want to communicate and become more engaged.

4. Managers must be effective in engaging their employees.
How are managers to be effective in engaging their employees? Investors In People (IIP), a UK government owned company designed to assist British businesses, lists the following:

  • It is imperative that managers are clear with individuals on what is expected of them:
    “Clarity is vitally important for employees, ensuring that they know their place within the organization, and what is expected of them in their role.  This will further incorporate development of team members, a key attribute in keeping them engaged and aligned with an organization’s objectives.”
  • They must treat individuals as individuals, showing respect and fairness for all.
    “Every individual within a company expects to be treated fairly, so managers must ensure that their behavior towards them is consistent.  This must be consistent not only within the context of other team members, but also within that of other managers and the wider organization.”
  • Managers must be able to build work relationships with team members, both on a one-on -one level and on a group level.
“Breaking down barriers and working in a close capacity is one of the simplest methods for managers to build trust within their team.  In this sense, flattening the hierarchy, pitching in, and sitting with the team are all efficient ways of building up those relationships.  Furthermore, managers must also be willing and prepared to feedback on a team’s direction.  This can be done quite simply when a particular team member or team is performing well, but it is equally important to feedback when the reverse is true.  Research shows that employees particularly value feedback after completion of a successful, but complicated or difficult task.”
Do you see areas you can improve on to make your organization more employee-engaged? Has your organization made adjustments not mentioned in this article that has made a difference? Please share your thoughts with Astronology – we’d love to hear from you!

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