Employee Engagement: What Does It Take?
The hot topic in Human Resources today is employee engagement. The reason employee engagement is important is because disengaged employees drain the employer’s bottom line. Disengaged employees either leave organizations or become unproductive and disruptive to the culture.
There are many things employers can do to increase employee engagement. A word of caution, if someone tells you that employee engagement is X, you’ve got the wrong person working with your organization because employee engagement is not just one thing. Here are some areas where you can impact employee engagement today:
Strong selection skills in recruitment
There is a growing trend to use assessments in the recruitment process to increase new employee success rates. Employers who make bad hiring decisions face lost time, money and negative cultural implications. When you hire the right person, life gets easier.
Effective job on-boarding program
New employees are excited and engaged when they join their employers. I can’t think of a better time to build on employee engagement. It is much easier to build momentum than it is to start it internally with employees who have lost interest.
Develop soft or applied skills
Employee engagement is easier to develop when people and the organizations have skills to communicate and work together more effectively. Establish acceptable norms or behaviors within your organization and provide training to reinforce your commitment. Demonstrate the skills as a leader or manager.
Well-designed performance management processes and reward systems
Employees are more engaged when they know what they are supposed to be working on, how it will be measured and why it is important to the organization. When they do a good job, that message needs to be reinforced through monetary or non-monetary reward systems. Find out what is important to them and reward them when they meet their goals.
Employee skills and abilities aligned with position
There is nothing more unsettling to an employee or organization than someone who is in the wrong job. Employees disengage if the work is not interesting or if they are asked to perform without having proper training or development. Employers reluctant to move improperly placed employees causes distrust and tension in the workplace. When other employees see that their employer isn’t flexible, they disengage too.
Exceptional people management skills
Bottom line – management must have exceptional people skills. Those skills include:
- Having clear and concise discussions with their employees
- Creating work that is interesting and challenging
- Listening to their employees needs and addressing their concerns
- Flexing their communication style to connect with their employees
- Being consistent about acceptable behaviors and results
- Creating a vision or purpose
- Providing the training, tools and resources to get the job done
As you can see, employee engagement boils down to doing the basics. If you concentrate resources and efforts on one area, the organization will fail. It is important to have a comprehensive plan. You may not be able to tackle it all at once, but you should understand how each piece supports the rest of the plan.