Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Digital Master Tuning XII: How to Build an Engaged Digital Workforce

Organizations need to do a better job of communicating the "why."

Although every organization declares people are the most invaluable asset. However, about 70% of employees are not engaged in their work.Why is that? Is it a matter of a low level of motivation? What does the term motivation even mean and how to build an engaged workforce?

There any correlation between engaged leadership and engaged employees or any combination of the two elements. People are not engaged when effective Leadership is not practiced, and people are not appreciated in a heartfelt way for their contributions. All leaders must either do it naturally or be shown how well this works.  Try to encourage, motivate, and support them to success on a daily basis.When they know the leaders care about them and their contribution, then they can work to reach our common goal together. The simple act of just showing courtesy and empathy can go a long way if you want to be successful in engaging a team. Engagement is assured, and excellence in performance is virtually guaranteed when people know their unique gifts are appreciated.

Organizations need to do a better job of communicating the "why." How does each employees work, accountabilities, and efforts support and contribute to the overall organization goals and strategy. Organizations need to make a concentrated effort to connect the dots for everyone and provide clear communication about the goals at each level. It's interesting that decades of global effort have gone into developing and promoting different ways and means of communication, leadership, motivation etc. in an endeavor to improve engagement. In this time educational standards have improved, the volume of research in these areas has/is increasing, as is professionals sharing knowledge. With all this effort, it seems odd that engagement is not passing 70%. Perhaps this indicates there is something else at work, something are missing. So it is important to figure out such big WHY.

In reality, the engagement falls on a full spectrum and is subject to variation over time. But a binary state of engaged or not is more often being portrayed. Fluctuation of engagement level applies to most if not all of people and is normal. Reasons for these natural fluctuations will have a variety of causes. The key is to ensure that everyone is fully engaged in an appropriate number of areas and willing to follow the leader in others. No one should always lead just as no one should only follow. If everyone is fully engaged on every topic and looked for input / acceptance, it is not clear how any actual work will get done as you would have a room full of zealots. In the same way if no one is engaged, nothing gets done as there is no leadership. The extremes do not work.

There are many different views of employee engagement. The very goals are to well align corporate goals with employees’ career goals, encourage talent growth, create synergy by putting the right talent at the right position, invite employees to brainstorm and contribute for either strategy or innovation, and explore the best practices & next practices for building an engaged and high performing digital workforce.  


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