— August 23, 2017
Like any good leader knows, improving and enhancing your company’s overall performance is directly linked to how engaged your talent is. To truly engage them you’ll need higher emotional and rational commitment from them and align them to the company’s vision, strategy, purpose and delivery of results. And for this to happen, employees, managers and the HR department all need to step up and take various initiatives that are consistent with the ideology that higher levels of engagement is fundamentally a necessity, rather than just something that’s a textbook requirement. But above all, the leaders have to do their part even more.
A question that arises for most is why spend so much time and resources in trying to engage employees? What’s the benefit that we, as an organization, can derive from it? Well to put it simply, if you were to create an environment of highly engaged employees you’ll successfully have employees:
- Stay with your organization,
- Speak highly of your organization, and
- Strive to achieve more than just their call of duty.
When you look at it holistically, it’s not just the employees that’ll benefit by being engaged – your organization gains a lot of value from its engaged workforce. You’ll see this with increased financial performance, customer satisfaction, quality output, productivity, creativity and innovation. There’s no secret that happier employees are the ingredients of a successful organization.
As a leader, you’ll need to do more than just “lead”. You solely are responsible to facilitate the enhancements in their engagement levels. Here’s how you can play your part:
1. Align Your Workforce
Having a vision and a dream that you hold near and dear to you isn’t going to help you achieve it. Your workforce is all working hard for a reason, right? And if that reason behind their efforts isn’t directed towards the vision you have then what’s all the effort for? As the leader, it’s your utmost priority to ensure your workforce is 100% aligned with the organization’s purpose. How else can you possibly expect them to be committed to their responsibilities? And it’s not just your senior or middle management that you’ll need to align. It’s everyone in your organization you’ll need to be engaging with to ensure they’re clear on the purpose, know what it’s all about and are emotionally tied to it. The aim here is to develop a sense of meaning and purpose in your workforce that excites them and keeps them striving for more.
2. Empower and Develop Managers
Probably the most important and pivotal group within your organization are your line managers. These are the individuals who engage with your workforce the most, regularly and on an ongoing basis. These are the influencers, motivators, performance enhancers, mentors, coaches and even role models that your workforce turn to for guidance and support. “Weak” and disengaged line managers could do the complete opposite of all that. You know what you can expect if that were the case. And that’s why it’s imperative for you to be selective when hiring your line managers. Once you’ve hired them, it’s equally important to empower them, continuously develop them, and keep them engaged.
3. Fairness Throughout
Being honest may be your pride and the biggest feather on your cap, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fair – which honestly, isn’t easy. As the leader, it’s up to you how you develop the organization’s culture. Being fair in everything you do is part of the culture you’re aiming to cultivate and harvest. But you don’t want to simply be “perceived” as being fair. You want to truly be seen as a fair leader who’s running a fair organization. To do that you’ll need to be fair throughout, top to bottom and in all aspects of the organization. Be it your procedures, how you distribute resources, make sales, and even your relations with internal and external stakeholders. Being fair put quite possibly be the biggest achievement of your organization that wins it an impeccable brand value.
4. A Leader of Leaders
Your organization is filled with talented, skilled and smart individuals. All of them are leaders in their own right – some aspiring to be, some present leaders and some brimming with leadership potential. Whatever their level of leadership may be, they all need to aspire to be like someone. A true leader. A leader of leaders who’s bold and a role model. They need you to look up to, emulate and aspire to be like. It’s not about what you say that’ll motivate and inspire them, it’s your personality, your behavior and your actions. Lead them like no other leader can, or ever has and you’ll win more than just their loyalty and commitment.
5. Measure the Impact
To know that your attempts of enhancing employee engagement is really paying off you need to set goals and measure it. How else can you gauge progress and ascertain whether or not your strategies and actions are bearing fruit? If you’ve taken some of the steps mentioned above, start measuring them. Apply the right survey techniques to measure your current engagement level and identify where and who your most engaged talent are. Then work out a plan to enhance the engagement levels even more so that you’re aligning not just the best, but everyone in your organization.
While there’s been much talk about employee engagement there’s no denying or discounting its importance. As their leader, you know that if you improve employee engagement you boost productivity and the chances of success for your organization. By acting upon these simple yet effective steps you’ll soon experience a change in your talent’s behavior. A change that’ll give you much pride in the organization you’ve built.