Charles J. Tawk | Senior Consultant
28th May, 2015
Employee engagement is something that has always intrigued me. I have read a great deal of books and white papers addressing this subject trying to uncover its secrets. I have asked around for a clear explanation, but most leading employers I interviewed struggled to provide me with a fulfilling answer. On the other hand, almost everyone I spoke to agreed that employee engagement was a key enabler of organizational success. If you share my curiosity for the topic, please read this article. It might dispel your doubts and answer some of your queries on this intriguing topic.
Throughout the years, I learned that the best way to convey a subject is to live it yourself. My own experiences with employee engagement began with an encounter with an unexpected client who visited me in my office. This client was vastly experienced and spoke eloquently; however what impressed me about him were not his obvious qualities, but rather the passion and confidence he exuded when talking about his company. Coincidently, we would later become colleagues, which helped me learn, through his actions, how active employee engagement is best demonstrated through specific behaviors.
Engaged employees operate in a unique manner. They are cooperative, take initiatives, make fewer mistakes, go beyond expectations, have the intense desire to stay with the organization, constantly speak positively about it, work with passion and feel that each one has a stake in the organization’s growth.
One may wonder how can such a wide gamut of positive behaviors be demonstrated. In this article, I provide the answer to this question by attempting to capture the takeaways of my brushings with employee engagement and presenting them in a model I will be referring to as the Meirc Employee Engagement Model (MEEM). This model consists of five simple steps. While I cannot promise that these steps will do miracles, I am confident they shall put you on the right track towards successful employee engagement.
Motivating your employees may be the toughest and most important challenge you face as a leader. This is because what motivates one person may not necessarily be what motivates another. Some people work for passion and self-actualization, others for goal accomplishment or to contribute to something larger than themselves. Motivating leaders, create a work environment which includes a range of motivators that can result in improved performance as well as increased retention and satisfaction. While most managers think that the most important motivational aspect of work is money, engaging leaders understand that employees want more than that; they want to be valued and recognized in a meaningful and personalized manner.
Engaging leaders empower their people by providing them with challenging and significant work that offers opportunities for career advancement. An empowering leader will allow people to make mistakes, learn from these mistakes, and solve those using creative solutions and ideas. Empowerment cannot exist without proper delegation and trust. Letting people do their jobs without interference and micromanagement makes them excel. Empowered employees show initiative by taking on, and completing, tasks with little or no guidance. Empowerment is based on a simple idea; giving employees new and challenging tasks, resources, authority, opportunity, as well as holding them accountable for the outcomes of their actions in order to build their competence and self-satisfaction.
Products, services and even businesses can be copied by competitors. Talent cannot. Talent is what differentiates an organization from its competitors. Prosperous organizations believed in that. As a result, they amassed a repertoire of internal skills. Additionally, by investing in skills development, organizations are stopping the early talent leakage. However investing in employees was something that many organizations struggle with. Nonetheless, when applied properly, it has proven to provide organizations with a guaranteed and profitable return on investment. The more organizations invest in their employees, the more these employees develop skills in desirable areas and learn consistent methods for improvement. It is a butterfly effect that can benefit the entire organization and influence employees to invest more in themselves to meet personal and organizational objectives.
Engaging leaders create an environment where employees feel rewarded and valued for their contributions and their accomplishments. Rewards promote the engagement culture across the organization, while recognition serves as a tool for reinforcing the behaviors that drive an organization to excellence. Leaders can come up with a diversity of rewards to give an energetic lift so employees exceed all expectations. Financial rewards are unquestionable motivating factors; nonetheless rewards can vary from simple non-financial ones to the big and costly. As a leader, you should not only reward, recognize and appreciate a job well done in the most proper way, but you should make sure that you reward those who add value and contribute to the organizational achievements.
Engaging employers communicate clearly, effectively and continuously with their employees. Clarifying and cascading down the big strategy is a must, while, simplifying and distributing the roles carefully will shed light on what is needed from each employee. Additionally, engaging employers provide proper feedback to their employees. They know how to congratulate them when they are performing, but also discuss their setbacks and areas of improvement. Engaging leaders offer their employees possible solutions and action plans. Employee engagement is a direct result of sharing, honest and authentic feedback as well as understanding the company’s strategy and personal contribution.
Engagement is most certainly an attracting subject. By explaining the MEIRC Engagement Model, I have aimed to highlight the importance of the topic for both employers and employees. Perhaps, before it is too late and before people pursue the road of disengagement, organizations will translate words into actions. Engagement will help these organizations avoid the negative consequences of its absence. Engagement comes with great rewards the biggest of all is having a fully engaged workforce.
Having preached and seen this model in practice has satisfied my yearning for the true meaning of employee engagement. My challenge for you is to pursue this model in your organization to find out for your own.