“Employee engagement has become the top issue on the minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management”. That’s according to Bersin by Deloitte, the research and human resources arm of Deloitte Consulting. It’s a great report filled with fantastic, informative data, but… what does employee engagement even mean?
In the book, Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty, author Tim Rutledge explains that truly engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing to invest the effort to see that the organization succeeds. More importantly to us, we believe that an engaged employee wears it on their face, demonstrates it in their work and shares it inside and outside the work place. We also believe that engaged employees are crucial to company growth. So, how do we develop that??
This is an on-going discussion and daily effort here at ECHOtape, and we certainly don’t have all the answers. But here are five areas that we believe are paramount to re-energizing our company.
More Human Connections. People make the difference. That’s the reason that ECHOtape has thrived for the past 40 years, and it’s the relationships between people that will determine our success over the next 40 years. But like many companies, sometimes we worry more about our customer relationships than our internal relationships, and that’s a recipe for disaster. No matter what the reason, if an employee has a poor relationship with his or her manager, then no incentive, perk or cajoling will persuade him to go above and beyond. Employee engagement is often a direct reflection of how employees feel about their relationship with the boss. Which why we are working harder than ever to build connections between our team inside and outside the work place.
Provide Meaningful Work and Opportunities for Growth. If you want your employees to put forth their best effort, let them know that their work matters. Help them see how their job fits into the big picture. Whether its job-specific training, seminars, mentoring programs or reimbursement for educational expenses, we think we will increase engagement by encouraging our employees to acquire new skills and abilities that improve their job performance.
Reward Creativity and Risk Taking. Nothing kills morale and enthusiasm more quickly than only speaking to your employees when they do something wrong. You can build trust, respect and increase engagement by offering employees’ frequent praise and recognition for their efforts and results. Then, when constructive criticism is necessary, it’s absorbed more easily. At ECHOtape, we traditionally reward service and excellence at our annual golf tournament. But we also realize that once a year isn’t enough, so we are actively looking for more ways to reward our employees throughout the year.
Collaborate. Studies show that, when employees work in teams and have the trust and cooperation of their team members, they outperform individuals and teams which lack good relationships. Great leaders are team builders; they create an environment that fosters trust and collaboration. This year, we are challenging our management team to find or create department or cross-department goals to foster more collaboration.
Be Flexible. Most of us have interests outside of work, and sometimes circumstances in our lives impact our ability to be fully engaged at work. That could be anything from a sick child to a spouse’s transfer or promotion requiring a move. You can create a more inclusive work space by being more flexible in the way that you allow your employees to complete their work. We actively allow employees to work from home or even work reduced hours some days to make it easier for them to complete their tasks while also achieving greater balance in their professional and personal lives.
How are you shaking up employee engagement and performance? Share your ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.