Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Engaging People in Tough Times

Employees feel engaged and deliver growth when they share a clear agenda and are using all their talents.  Leaders add true value when they communicate clear expectations, outcomes and boundaries to allow others to be successful. 

Right now we are all being asked to do more with less. Many corporate leaders have responded to the tough environment and huge uncertainties by:
  • Cutting people and rewards – but not necessarily expected outputs
  • Pulling decision-making upwards – to give a sense of control
These actions are very understandable but make it a difficult environment in which to keep people engaged and motivated. In the face of this challenge, managers need to step back and get very clear about how they create employee engagement.

The Business Benefits

Key to engagement is getting people to “buy-in” to the purpose of the work and feel connected with the outcome. This is simply stated in research findings from The Corporate Leadership Council in 2007 which showed that “Employees who can see a clear link between how their individual efforts relate to organisational goals … engage with the organisation and perform at their best. Increasing the connection between the employee’s work and the organisation’s strategy drives positive employee engagement and performance by up to 33%.”

When people are engaged and motivated you get:-
  • Success without having to oversee every single detail
  • Cohesion in a team
  • The energy to overcome obstacles
  • Things done faster, to a higher standard
  • A positive, happy team
  • New ideas and better processes
The 5 Key Principles of Positive Engagement

Creating engagement involves using 5 principles:

  1. Start with creating compelling shared goals – involve people in this process directly
  2. Be motivated yourself – your energy is infectious whether positive or negative
  3. Understand what’s in it for them -remember that what motivates you might not work for other people
  4. Gain the support of all your stake-holders – they affect whether staff believe it’s worthwhile or not
  5. Give feedback - being clear about what is expected of someone is essential to stimulate engagement and performance.
Employee engagement is not something you can get a quick fix for but consistently using these 5 principles builds engagement with both the work and with you as the leader. That leads on to better outcomes for everyone.

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