By Matylda Rabczenko
Guest Writer, Warwick Business School
Whether your business is at the peak of success or on the brink of failure, it is likely that in both cases you are underutilizing your most valuable asset – people.
An overwhelming body of research has consistently demonstrated a link between people and performance (please, don’t fall asleep just yet!), which is mediated by the enigmatic concept of employee engagement (told you it was worth staying awake!).
Sibson defines it for you in two simple points. Engaged employees:
1. Know how to do the work
2. Want to do the work
Yes, it’s as simple as that, and there’s a lot to gain! Engaged employees are more productive and happier. This translates into reduced employee turnover and enhanced financial performance. More interestingly to those of you who are already doing well, it often results in the exposure of unrealized gains.
Before abandoning the topic, have a glance at the quick survey proposed by Elis and Sorensen (2006). If you checked even one of the boxes, there’s a chance that your organization has an employee engagement problem.
Did I hear an ‘uh-oh’? Unfortunately, there are no generic how-to guides; every organization has different needs! There are, however, four areas that you can focus on, which a long-term study has pinpointed as exceptionally relevant to employee engagement (MacLeod, Clarke, 2009):
1. LEADERSHIP determines the organization’s purpose, which ultimately shapes why the employee wants to do the job. Can you make your organization’s vision more inspiring than it already is?
2. ENGAGING MANAGERS are key to implementing the vision. They are directly in control of employee empowerment, which may contribute to both why the employee wants to do the job, and the employee’s knowledge on how to do the job (empowerment is associated with autonomy which requires higher-quality training). Are your managers empowering or restricting your employees?
3. EMPLOYEE VOICE is fundamental to creating employee engagement. An employee will not be committed to a job where he or she cannot make a difference and is treated as an opinion-less machine. How can you take action to listen and respond to your employees?
4. INTEGRITY is the building block of trust amongst the employees. It can be achieved through consistent behavior in line with the stated vision. Do you ensure that your employees act in accordance with the organizational vision?
Don’t overlook what’s right in front of you. Have a think and perhaps you too will be able to uncover some unrealized gains – the true potential of your people!
Find ideas and tools here.
Also, have a look at Profiles Asia Pacific’s Employee Engagement Survey! The top way to figure out the engagement level in your organization!