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If we are to treat employees as individuals then perhaps they should be responsible for their own engagement
In our article of 13th July we took a look at some of the benefits of employee engagement. So we thought we would move forward a stage and look at some of the ways in which organisations can boost employee engagement. Business leaders can be forgiven for seeing this as an extremely complex area, particularly given that searches on the web would indicate that everything from the choice of coffee machine to the office outing can have a direct impact on employee engagement.
And in a way all these articles are right. But employee engagement need not be a complex affair if leaders stick to the basic principle that an engaged employee is someone who is aligned with the business strategy and who feels valued. This brings us to the first, and simplest, method of employee engagement; namely, saying thank you. Recognising a contribution either publicly or privately need not cost anything and yet it can be a fundamental way of showing employees how much you appreciate them.
Similarly, making small gestures which show that you recognise your employee as an individual can also go a long way towards increasing engagement. These may be something as simple as allowing employees to come in slightly late on the first day of the school term, suggesting flexible working if a family member is ill or even just offering an extended lunch hour to help with Christmas shopping.
Until fairly recently the majority of the employee engagement initiatives were employer led. But there is now a new mood in town, and this recognises that if we are to treat employees as individuals then perhaps they should be responsible for their own engagement. Self managed online engagement programs not only enable employees to take the initiative but also enabled leaders to learn from their employee journeys.
Typically, a program may include surveys, development resources and activities; delivered in bite size chunks which can easily be assimilated into the work day. Either mapped on an individual or team basis, people can work on their own or in groups to carry out activities and learning modules which will help them to not only assimilate the strategy and goals of the organisation but also to take a more proactive part in their own personal development.
Used effectively, self managed online engagement programs can transform the attitude and work ethos of individuals, teams and leaders. These programs are particularly effective when businesses are looking to move towards an innovation culture. When initiative and empowerment, collaboration and agility, become part of the organisational culture then the more that people take responsibility for their own development the more they will move into the innovation culture ideal.
Whatever methods businesses use to boost engagement there are two golden rules which will maximise the chance of success. Firstly, remember your employees are individuals and what works well for one will not work someone else. Secondly, your engagement pathway has to be aligned with the strategy, aims and values of the organisation. Get these two right and you are a long way towards leading an organisation with highly engaged employees.