Pardon a mini-rant here, but if I hear another story an organization that is trying to “fix” their employee engagement problem, I think I’ll burst. Worse yet their starting point is a survey.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating – if you want to engage employees you first have to empower them. That’s right, you can create engagement, at least not for any sustainable period of time, if you aren’t empowering your employees to contribute more too the business.
What do I mean?
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Well consider that “engagement” is measured through the level of involvement and voluntary participation that employees offer, and that to achieve this we need to provide employees an environment in which they can actually participate.
Suppose I’m your employee. If you limit my ability to become involved, to offer ideas (that we act upon), to suggest improvements (that we decide upon) and to allow me to make decisions that impact my work, then I will never ever be engaged.
In my book Operational Empowerment I discuss at length exactly how to empower your employees, however let me offer you a few suggestions here:
1. Solicit employee ideas on how to improve your business – and then do something with the feedback quickly, as in act on it.
2. Connect with employees on the front lines in informal groups and forums to understand their concerns and to eliminate any potential biases or filters caused by front line management
3. Introduce more collaborative decision-making models that place more emphasis on employee rather than management decisions.
4. Provide an environment that facilitates employee cross-functional communication
Don’t think this is possible? Well one of my best clients has actually taken this to an entirely new level by designating one of their offices as a place to achieve those items listed above. They’ve aptly named the room the collaboratorium – an incubator for ideas and change.
So if your goal in the coming year is to improve employee engagement don’t waste time on survey’s, instead begin building an empowering environment that compels employees to naturally become engaged. If you need ideas you can grab a copy of my book here or feel free to send me an email to discuss the best starting point firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.