Making Employee Engagement Social
We know that employee engagement is both important and also woefully low in most organizations. Despite all the resources put into traditional engagement initiatives, the needle still isn’t moving. Why?
The problem with traditional engagement efforts is that it is viewed as the domain of managers. Meaning, let’s give data and leadership training to front-line managers, and they’ll do a better job of engaging their workers.
That’s a good start, but it doesn’t tap into the most powerful force for engagement: the workers themselves.
According to IDG Research, 43% of engagement comes from intrinsic motivation—by definition factors that are completely outside the influence of company mangers.
What we need to do is to create social engagement initiatives, which set the expectation that individuals have a role to play in creating a great place to work.
Certainly social recognition is a great first step in driving engagement. Feeling appreciated is one of the top three drivers of engagement, and having the ability to recognize peers, and to receive recognition from them, can accomplish this goal.
Other things individual employees can do to drive their own engagement and that of their peers include:
Understanding their own motivation triggers.
Research reveals which drivers are most important for the masses, but we are all individuals. I may really crave growth opportunities at this stage of my career, while you might be more interested in recognition for what you are already doing.
To support this step I developed an online assessment to help uncover your personal engagement profile. This free assessment tool shows the relative importance of each engagement trigger for you.
Being mindful of all that companies are already doing to drive engagement.
One activity I’ve found useful is to have individuals think of and write down all that the company is doing for them in areas like Communication, Growth, and Recognition.
Often the list of items is quite small. Then have everyone share their lists, to combine them on a flip chart. The peer-sharing and discussion generally creates a much longer list, followed by an “aha” moment where everyone realizes they’ve been taking some things for granted, or not realizing all the company is already doing for them.
Having permission and tools to proactively partner with their bosses.
Don’t think the company is supporting your growth? OK, how can you hold a career path meeting with your supervisor to discuss your goals and what it’s going to take to accomplish them?
What individual workers need is the message that they actually have an obligation to contact their supervisor if they aren’t satisfied; we can give them tools like model emails and “conversation starters” to help them better navigate their concerns.
Employee engagement needs managers to work as leaders. Yet we must also recognize what each individual brings to the table, and we must teach them that driving engagement to higher and higher levels is a job for everyone.
This article is an excerpt from Employee Engagement for Everyone: 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work by New York Times bestselling author, Kevin Kruse. For more great HR content, buy Kevin's book and register for free email updates from the TribeHR blog.