Employee Engagement Strategies

Posted on February 18, 2013 by

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Leaders must recognize that in today’s market, cradle to grave secure employment is a distant memory at best and not necessarily something that employees are looking for.  Workers are motivate by more than just a secure position, compensation and benefits packages.  Strategic leaders recognize this and understand the importance of engaging in strategies to create an environment that supports and sustains employee engagement.

Hiring Process

Organizations are often challenged to hire employees that have a balance of aptitude (ability) and attitude (desire or motivation) that is in sync with the culture and values of the organization.  The interview process seems more like a courtship or dating, with the opportunity for companies to learn more about the potential candidate and the candidate to learn more about the company.  Both are seeking a match, if you will, with core beliefs and values.  To facilitate this process, companies would do well to communicate upfront to potential candidate the values, beliefs and culture of the company.

Culture

Additionally, companies must adjust their culture to reflect the needs of a changing workforce.  Compensation is no longer an end-all-be-all, but rather a piece of a pie that reflects what truly motivates employees to be passionate and committed to their work.  Non-financial factors such as advancement, autonomy, mutual respect, exposure to senior people, feeling challenged, feeling trusted, support and work life balance should be considered key aspects of any organization’s culture to ensure an engaging environment.

Leadership Behaviors

Leaders can demonstrate a commitment to employee engagement through their actions.  By showing genuine care and valuation of employees, leaders are able to build relationships that build trust and respect.  By taking to time to explain organizational strategy, some new initiatives, key organizational values and expected behaviors in both the formal (town hall meeting) and informal (daily walk around) settings, leaders actively engage employees and give them a sense of belonging.

Career Planning & Training

More and more workers are recognizing that their future is dependent upon their role in the planning process as it is no longer common for human resources or the leader to define potential career paths.  To this extent, leaders should provide both challenging and meaningful work for employees to help them hone their skills and refine their perceptions regarding their career path.  Doing so enriches the employee’s experiences and broadens their depth of knowledge, making them more valuable to the organization.  By providing varied experiences and exposing the employees to different levels of the organization, leaders are able to help employees define their fit and role in the organization.

Recognition & Reward

Employee perceptions of feedback are that they receive immediate feedback when their performance is poor or mediocre but inconsistent if not present when they meet or exceed performance expectations.   Leaders should recognize the intrinsic value in providing casual feedback to employees when they meet and/or exceed goals.   As Seijts & Crim (2006) noted, “Exceptional leaders give recognition, and they do so a lot; they coach and convey” (p. 4).  Such feedback also builds self-confidence and self-efficacy, increasing the employee’s belief that he or she is a capable and competent contributor to the company.

Much like recognizing that successful organizational cultures are by design, strategic leaders understand that employee engagement is by design as  well.  As such, leaders employ strategies specifically aimed at creating and sustaining employee engagement, which can improve not only employee performance but can contribute positively towards the organization’s bottom line.

Seijits, G.H. and Crim, D. (2006). What engages employees the most or, The Ten C’s of employee engagement.  Ivey Business Journal, 1-5.

Trahant, B. (2007). Debunking Five Myths Concerning Employee Engagement. Public Manager, 36(1), 53-59.

Woodruffe, C. (2006). The crucial importance of employee engagement. Human Resource Management International Digest, 14(1), 3-5. DOI: 10.1108/09670730610643891

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