Do Not Create Employee Engagement - Activate it!
In this festive season, we wish each other a Happy Holiday with all sincerity. This is a time of year when differences are often put aside, family squabbles temporarily forgotten, and we truly wish the best for all.
It is my wish for you, my reader, that you carry this happiness within you not just for this season, but for all of 2017 and beyond.
Employee engagement, like personal happiness, comes from within.
My good friend Lou Radja says that happiness isn't something that's "out there." It doesn't come from buying a new car, getting a raise, or even falling in love. In our pursuit of happiness we usually look outside ourselves, sometimes find moments of happiness, and begin our search anew when that moment falls away. Lou encourages us to activate our happiness from within.
I believe the same principle follows us into our work-a-day lives. Leaders look for ways to increase employee engagement. They implement new disciplines, give bonuses, and shower praise for simple participation. Perhaps more than ever, employees will be more engaged in their work when they feel that what they do matters.
Put another way, employees that sense what they do has value will be naturally more engaged in their work. This is a tricky beast because one may interpret my meaning as "tell them that they are valued." Doing so would be an eventually futile attempt at creating employee engagement through external motivation.
Yes, you do want to ensure that your employees know they are valued. Absolutely. But, to activate their inner motivation, you want to relate what they DO to the success of the organization. In this sense, their work has value. What they do means something.
An employee's work has value and meaning to the employee when tied to a company vision that is both compelling and interesting.
Activating Employee Engagement
- Create a clear, compelling, challenging, and interesting vision. Gain 100% agreement from the leadership team on a vision that is emotionally compelling, isn't a piece of cake, and holds everyone's interest.
- Share your vision with all employees. This isn't a simple mission statement that you post on a wall. Share every part of your vision, your values, and your purpose with your employees quarterly.
- Tie what they do to your vision. Ideally, all employees will have roles and measurables that link directly to the company vision so that they understand how what they do directly relates to the achievement of the company vision.
May you, your company, your employees, and your loved ones have a very happy holiday and a prosperous new year.