There’s a remarkable number of employee engagement articles that keep getting top positions on all blogs today and there’s only reason for that: organizations started to understand that employees are their most valuable asset. Or so the cliché goes.
I just stumbled on this “The Employee Engagement Hoax” article today and though the title might mislead you, the general concept behind the post is not that employee engagement actions are bad, but just how defective some organizations understand applying it.
I believe that the only obstacle that stands in the way of finding the right approach to engage your employees is a matter of perspective. It’s typical for the managers that cling to job titles and the obsolete industrial hierarchical model not to find the genuineness of communicating one-on-one with the people they coordinate and thus to have a hard time becoming the leaders today’s employees need in order to give their best at work. And that’s why the engagement processes they employ feel like a hoax – people have nonsense radars and they’ll black out any action that feels forced.
So here are the 3 elementary practices that can help with employee engagement:
1. Make use of your common sense. You’d be surprised how natural communication can feel if you loosen up a bit and fight that corporate second nature you gained over the years. Here are some common sense practices: give private and public credit for their accomplishments, don’t make them promises that you can’t keep or that have conditions attached that you don’t share
2. Think like a member of the team. Your target is not to turn them into your BFFs, but building an employee-friendly work environment should be. And you can’t really understand their struggles if you can’t mingle with them. Addressing people by their first name and inviting them to do the same is a common practice. But feel free to go further than that. For instance, try working from time to time in the same open space as them rather than your fancy private office.
3. Find new interactions methods. That’s the easiest part – the social software for enterprise use is a market of its own today. There are software tools for all kind of needs that help with both efficiency and communication between employees and middle or upper management. You can chose from knowledge sharing solutions (like Quandora), ESNs (like Yammer), chat rooms (like HipChat) and many others (like Jira or Campfire), according what organizations needs to optimize.
Dealing every day with people and finding the best solutions to manage them is not an easy job. But don’t make this job even more difficult by looking at your employees as just some numbers.
Happy Employee Engagement! 🙂