To empower others, you must take their measurements regularly…
Sam, the Site Director, drove to his monthly networking group frustrated by the employee interaction he had witnessed the afternoon before. In the break room two employees had been discussing which of their two ideas was the best solution for a work-process challenge. Sam was interested in their solutions and about to encourage their creative problem-solving, when a third employee spoke up: “Why should we even care?” he asked with disgust. Sam was shaken by the attitude that the outburst had reflected and was still thinking about how often he had seen that viewpoint lately.
At his networking meeting, he raised the challenge of getting employees to care about their work. A colleague mentioned an unusual word that Sam later asked about: congagement. He was told the term was an amalgamation of the two words connected and engaged and that his friend’s company had seen improved results by following the concept that sparked the evolution of the word. The concept was to guide all levels of employees to feel connected to the company’s goals and to be engaged in how their own jobs could help reach those common goals.
Reality: Employees engaged in their work are wonderful assets; customers and business leaders reap the benefits of their efforts. When these employees also feel connected to the goals of the team, that engagement is often enhanced: resulting in their giving discretionary effort combined with good judgment and driving improved results.
- Remember, many of us fully engage only when we feel we can confidently make a difference toward what we consider success. (Engagement is the greatest benefit of continual, employee development by individual managers.)
- Every employee should be able to describe the key company goal(s) that their work impacts.
- So… ensure each employee knows what “business success” will look like from their perspective:
- Limited management-only perspective: “We will get bonuses!”
- Customized employee perspectives: “We’ll make more sales because our customers will be referring their friends to buy our services!” “We will get fewer repair calls and have time to educate customers who love the advantages.”
- Expect to sacrifice to produce effective employee communication: paying personnel to craft language that relates to employees; taking time out of production for talking; investing in the right communication vehicles.
- We feel connected when we know where we are headed and get updates on progress.
- We feel connected and more willing to engage when we see evidence of our own personal clout: when there is confirmation that we’ve been heard and are respected for our input.
- Make it EASY for employees to stay informed and to offer input from their perspectives on what they see and do that impacts company goals.
- There are significant pay-offs for communication that keeps employees connected!
- Payoff: It reduces problems caused by “the rumor mill” because silence and assumptions fuel rumors, causing quality and productivity distractions and errors.
- Payoff: It increases the flexibility required to accept changes because employees “saw the writing on the wall” and understand the need for change when it is announced.
- Check out what non-engagement can cost!