It has been more than a day or two since the last blog post! The previous post was in part a look ahead to 2022. For those organizations that embraced remote or hybrid work, here’s hoping that you’ve worked out most of the wrinkles and that all is going smoothly. As well, I hope that you have had an enjoyable summer and that you’ve had some time off to relax.
While employee engagement has been a topic that we have discussed before, it’s my belief that it’s a topic worth revisiting. After all, people truly are your top asset. Sure, technology and other resources are important, but for any business where humans are required, the people that you have in place and what they bring to the table will be extremely critical to your success and reputation.
To break it down to its simplest form, employee engagement is quite straightforward. Now, that doesn’t mean that it happens overnight or is easy to achieve. However, if you make engagement a priority, you will have happier, more productive employees. Of course, this will translate into bottom-line success.
To start, engagement needs to begin with the leaders and employees whom you are hiring. Hire leaders who are actually good at “leadership”. Yes, they need to have solid technical skills (financial, operational, etc.) too; however, these skills need to be combined with the ability to motivate and lead employees. As well, hire for attitude when you are filling positions. Again, this doesn’t negate the technical skills required, but be aware that attitude is much more challenging to teach than are other types of skills. A robust recruitment process that includes the right interview questions, selection tools, reference checks, etc. goes a long way. As well, don’t rush the recruitment process – it is often better to take the time to find the right candidate versus hiring someone in a hurry.
Build a culture whereby employees are valued and treated the right way. Again, this sounds easy, but we know that there are many organizational cultures that don’t foster a sense of belonging. And find out from people what is important to them. Tools such as employee engagement surveys and stay interviews can be extremely helpful in guiding you along in this respect. If you do an engagement survey, for example, make sure that you communicate the collective results to employees and then act upon the themes. For example, if employees are saying that they don’t have an opportunity for development, make sure to focus on this area.
While leaders are also employees, it may make sense to focus some initiatives specifically on your leadership group. Leaders are often tasked with so much and they are often forgotten about in the discussion around employee engagement. It’s generally the one-to-one relationships that employees have with their leader that will make the most significant difference as it relates to engagement; if the leader isn’t in a good space, chances are their staff won’t be either. You won’t regret investing time and resources into initiatives to improve employee engagement.