Employee engagement shouldn’t be just for the Christmas party, it’s for every day of the whole employee lifecycle.
What is an Engaged Employee?
A person must be motivated to be engaged at work. They need to be accountable to themselves. They should be able to take ownership for how they feel and manage the situations they are in and influence. Organisations should maintain their efforts to promote employee engagement every day, not just in an annual survey or at the Christmas party.
The Disengaged Employee
Symptoms of disengagement range from doing the bare minimum or coasting, to deliberate acts of sabotage and disruption. While it is possible to take action in specific cases of disengagement, this is merely papering over the cracks of a fundamental flaw in your workplace culture. It’s important to not pin all the blame on the individual for their lack of engagement but instead to use the opportunity to evaluate your organisation’s attitude to:
- Strong leadership
- Resilient culture
- Focus on your people
- Looking to the future
Motivation and Employee Engagement
Motivation is key to employee engagement. People who are well and sustainably motivated tend to collaborate effectively and are energised by purpose. They understand their role, their significance within the organisation and can work with autonomy. This ability to work without direct supervision is crucial in the current working from home era, but it will continue to be important as we move forward into a hybrid workplace culture. People will need to work well independently as the norm, yet feel able and empowered to collaborate and ask for help when needed.
Those who struggle with remote working, away from the safety net of a physical line manager or the sociability of colleagues, will need help to understand why they find this difficult and work to develop the skills to better manage their workplace situation. Recruiters and hiring managers may also need to adjust their job profiles, to take into account the traits and skills best suited to hybrid working for the long term.
But remember, motivation is a skill. It can be improved, thus developing employee engagement in your teams. Assessments, training and coaching will help people to get there effectively and sustainably.
Respect and Employee Engagement
Nothing shatters employee engagement quicker than a leader or colleague who does not respect the people around them. All that work you’ve done improving motivation goes out of the window in a culture where shouting is the norm and people work in fear of the next outburst. Leaders and team members must be aware of how they respond to their colleagues. Being able to regulate, respond appropriately and remain composed under pressure are golden skills. People who can understand their triggers have a terrific opportunity to do something about it. For instance, if the prospect of presenting to the board turns you into a roaring monster to everyone around you in the run up to the event, invest in some presentation skills or dynamic speaking training.
It’s probably impossible to be this perfect all the time, but self-awareness at least enables us to recognise when we overstep the mark, act with respect in the aftermath and strive to respond differently in future.
Strong leaders are self-assured, not aggressive and they also show confidence and trust in their colleagues. This respect and self-regulation enables engagement to grow and become the foundation of your workplace relationships.
Resilience and Employee Engagement
Strong engagement is tricky enough when business is going well. But what about when, say you’re in the midst of a long-term global pandemic, some of your people are furloughed out of sight, the rest are working from home and frankly everyone is feeling rather exhausted by it all?
Key here is having a resilient culture where people are equipped to fire up their perseverance, hold on to their self-esteem and remain optimistic. With these skills in their arsenal your leaders and teams can stay engaged and motivated to not just keep going, but also to thrive. To adapt together where appropriate and be assertive rather than aggressive.
But is it too late now? The end is almost in sight ...
No! We seem to go through global economic crises of one sort or another every 10-20 years. On that basis, most of us will experience this at least once more in our careers. We need to use what we learn each time to improve how we respond in future – whether to another pandemic, tech bubble or financial crash. The next crisis may be in relation to our environmental impact. We need to be ready and develop successful workplace cultures now, where employee engagement is strong, actively managed and leads your employee value proposition.
Employee engagement is the glue that holds workplace relationships together, to create cultures where everybody matters and their contributions are valued.
We’re a team who practice what we preach. 2020 was tough, but we made it through with perseverance, motivation and above all by supporting each other. Contact us to find out how we can help you to do the same.
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