Monday, December 2, 2013

How to Engage Talent

Employee Engagement takes Mind, Heart, and Hands Unification. 

There are many factors that can lead to employees being disengaged in addition to the company and role they work for. Disengagement can have as much to do with how one feels about their contribution in combination with the activities they are performing. So how to dig through the causes and what are the best management practices to engage talent?

There are external factors and internal factors that influence the engagement level of an employee. On the authority/responsibility matrix, low authority, and low responsibility leads to apathetic employees. On the satisfaction/contribution matrix, low satisfaction, and low contribution lead to disengaged employees. It indicates there are some things which are external to the employee (authority/ responsibility) and some things internal to the employee (satisfaction and sense of contribution). The organization can only control some of the factors involved with employee engagement but these often big factors. More specifically, a few disengagement reasons include:
- The employee does not feel connected
- The employee does not feel like they have an opportunity to contribute, or their work get recognized
- The employee desires to have more visibility in the organization
The best plan to get people engaged is for the business to have a well thought out strategy that is communicated throughout the organization. Then, managers should help employees find ways to link their activities to that strategy. By doing that, every individual should be able to see what they do in their job makes a difference to the company - and hopefully to the customer. Unless extremely self-motivated or driven, an employee will likely be disengaged if they find the work boring, are left out of the (extended) team and cannot see the difference they make to the company bottom-line.So communication is key. Some employees do make the necessary changes but some do not. Then, it is appropriate to take actions on a case by case basis. Keep the employees informed of the state of the organization and the "real" picture - That we are all in the same boat!

More often immediate line manager plays a key role in engaging employees with the organization. When a manager knows about each individual in his/her team, knowing what challenges do they face at work, their talents, career goals etc. Employee’s self-reflection is indeed important. So to have engaged employees, once of the most reliable methods is to increase their authority and responsibility, which the organization can control and to work with them to increase their self-determinations of satisfaction and contribution. And employees who are satisfied, who contribute, and who have the responsibility and authority to achieve both, are well engaged.

In line with the organizational culture, the employees should be able to take up challenging work just outside their comfort zone, included in the decision-making process and kept in the knowing about how their actions impact the customers and translate to the business objectives. Employees are disengaged for various reasons. If quite a few employees are disengaged then probably you have to re-evaluate the organizational culture which is preventing these employees to actively participate, and hence, they are disengaged. Keep in mind that you could have an issue with team chemistry where employees/peers do not have a good understanding of communication and work styles. Hence, it causes a lack of appreciation for different styles of work and causes some of them to be disengaged.

Taking advantage of the latest technology and collaboration tools: There are new ways to work together to accomplish a task and to provide an opportunity to address these reasons for disengaged employees. Think about driving enterprise social as a way to work out in the open style so employees can find a topic or area of the company/project to add value too. Working social allows instant gratification and feedback on the best ideas. There are many tools to facilitate enterprise social. Enterprise social is an open form of working together and thinking out loud to accomplish a goal or task. As employees would like to have their voice get heard, their works get appreciated and their value gets recognized. etc.  

Therefore, to engage employees takes both heart and mind, the managers need to have empathy to know your staff deeper, understand their career goals; but also communicate with a professional attitude as "it's nothing personal, it's about business".


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