Human resource experts across the board agree that employee engagement has to be a priority for companies to be able to compete successfully over the long-term. An uncertain economic climate, combined with shifts in global workforces, increased regulation, and changes in overseas shipping, has cultivated an atmosphere of uncertainty that has been in place since 2008. With that in mind, does your company have employee engagement listed as a key priority this year? It should.
According to studies conducted by both Dale Carnegie and Aon PLC, employee engagement is more critical to an organization’s success than it ever has been before. According to Aon PLC, the question that needs to be asked is deeper than, “What do employees need to be engaged?” Management also needs to ask, “What behaviors are we asking employees to engage in?” Culture, expectations, and responsibilities need to be examined to measure employee willingness to engage.
Democratizing the Ownership of Engagement
It’s not all on management to make sure employees are engaged. There’s a shared responsibility across all levels in a corporate structure. Managers may create the environment to work in, but everyone is responsible for making sure company values and expectations are shared. According to Zig Ziglar, this is one of the three prime needs of all workers – interesting work, recognition when they do a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company.
Two of the best ways to increase employee participation and get them to share with each other are crowdsourcing through key “communicators” and culturing peer-to-peer recognition. According to consultant Robert J. Holland, “Communicators are a small band of people who help get management’s point of view across to employees, and employees’ perspective across to management.” Identifying who your communicators are and utilizing them properly is a key to employee engagement.
A March 2013 article in Incentive Magazine titled “The Pressing Case for “Peer-to-Peer Recognition” points out that “Recognition is no longer just one-on-one. Social media has helped extend the relationship beyond that.” This is an important point for management creating recognition programs. Bulletin boards in the lunchroom are great, but no one sees them anymore because they’re busy checking Facebook on their smart phone. Use that to your advantage.
Engagement is an Action, not a Planning Exercise
Planning is good, but the success of employee engagement comes from action. Charles Schwab once said, “The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.” You can’t plan to offer those. They have to be forthcoming in situations where they are deserved and/or needed. With today’s challenges being faced by management and ownership, more businesses are looking for ways to create better employee engagement on a daily basis.
Charles Schwab understood the importance of engaging with his employees and his clients. The management philosophy in the company he built has always been a “wandering around” approach to running day-to-day operations. Let your employees see you and hear you every day and be sincere when you speak with them. That trust and authenticity is what wins people over, even when times are tough.
What’s most influencing your employee recognition planning this year?
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