Speak to any HR professional, Training and Development Manager, Leadership Coach or company CEO and they will tell you that many organisations still struggle with managing the effects of poor employee engagement. What they are not telling you is why this is such a huge issue, with no signs of slowing down.
The simple truth is that managers, and organisations, aren’t taking the time to work with employees individually to find out what makes them tick. What inspires them, what do they excel at, what is going on in other areas of their lives, how are they best managed. By taking the time to do this, that is when you begin creating a workplace environment that not only takes into account employees individual needs but improves overall engagement, involvement, commitment or enthusiasm.
The old way of thinking surrounding ‘employee engagement’ usually involves a Human Resources Manager conducting staff ‘temperature checks’ to try and identify if they are engaged and being productive in their role. Throw in a clunky annual review process, some professional development goals (that are constructed then forgotten) and most businesses feel they have ticked the ‘employer of choice’ box for another year.
The savvier organisations and business coaches out there, however, know that this conversation needs to change dramatically to influence the status quo when it comes to aligning leadership, engagement, productivity and profits.
In the book ‘The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’, Daniel Pink identifies that conative skills and human talents are now more important to businesses than ever, even with the emergence of smarter technologies. Every part of a business boils down to ‘people’ and investing time in understanding the ‘human element’ within your organisation, might just lead to increased profitability, brand loyalty, and highly engaged staff.
It all starts with incorporating the ‘human element’ into your organisation’s core values;
- Calibrate individual goals and company goals
Businesses need to realise that their people aren’t just motivated by money, especially those involved in thought jobs. Instead, Pink suggest that they’re driven by a desire for “autonomy, mastery and purpose.”
Just like being a part of an elite sporting team, performance almost always improves when individual goals and team (or company) goals align in a meaningful way. A strong leader understands what makes people tick and can adjust goals and accountability accordingly to accommodate each individual, ensuring the best result.
- Build meaningful customer connections
Fostering a culture where staff members build meaningful relationships with clients helps employees own a stake in company success. Authentic relationships lead to trust, brand loyalty and contribute to incorporate the ‘human element’ into your business modus operandi. Relationship marketing is the new advertising and a daily part of the business that every employee can get involved in.
- Engagement & Wellbeing
Employee health and wellbeing has a profoundly positive impact on engagement and productivity. Incorporating a wellness program into your organisation will not only reduce absenteeism and general ‘brain fog’ but it will also lead to cultivating a team of healthy, supported employees that can concentrate and ready to work, and word hard.
A wellness program doesn’t have to be ‘hippy dippy’ and invoke burning incense and offering meditation sessions for staff. It can have an educational focus, teaching employees practical skills around nutrition, exercise, stress management and work-life balance principals. Getting the team involved in brainstorming the creation of an office wellness plan is a great place to start.
The business word and each organisation are filled with people. Understanding what makes your people tick and leading each new business decision with considering the people factor is a fantastic way to adopt this engagement philosophy holistically. If we can tap into the fundamental need all humans have which is to belong and contribute in a way that demonstrates reciprocity, insight and compassion then we are on our way to understanding and actually engaging the human element in business.