With the first quarter of 2017 only visible in the rear-view mirror, as unbelievable as that seems, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate what we want to accomplish in our organizations by the end of this year.
Employee engagement continues to be the buzz word of the decade. Constituents quote the statistics that engaged employees are more than 3 times as productive than the unengaged or 10x as productive as the actively disengaged.
Creating an environment of engagement and learning
To understand this concept, we need to understand the true meaning of the word empathy. Empathy, as defined by the dictionary, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Borrowing a term from Big Data, it means focusing on the user experience or UX. It will require designing work for the employee through the lens of user experience (UX) with the goal being able to help the employees feel good about the work they are doing and have a solid understanding of the connection to the greater organizational goals.
It has little to do with nerf guns, skateboards and other “tools” used to sell an environment of engagement and much more to do with spending the time to understand what is important to the individual actually performing the job. Maybe it’s ergonomic, like a chair with better back support, maybe it’s auditory, like a pair of headphones to tune out the chatter around them, maybe it’s offering a rotation of job duties to stave of boredom and the repetitive nature of the job.
Adopting a Management Style that supports engagement
Equally important to creating the right environment is fostering the right management style to support a team environment. A team is a group of talented people who work together to accomplish something beyond their individual best. In order to work together they need to be supported by managers who allows them to thrive. This style is built by leaders who understand how to communicate the vision of the company in a way that engages and encourages everyone to work towards that goal.
Leaders who are effective communicators, develop a sense of community, and show authentic transparency and concern for others will be able to build high performing and engaged teams of talented people.”
Creating jobs that support engagement
Go beyond traditional training classes that support skills based on-the-job training and look for peer-to-peer opportunities. investigate ways to allow employees to “try out” another position for a day or even a few hours. This has multiple advantages. Not only does it build a more well-rounded and cross trained workforce, but it circles back to our definition of empathy, to understand and share the feelings of another. A workforce who has had the opportunity to “stand in another’s shoes” is a workforce that is better equipped to understand the full business cycle.