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In a Nutshell: Four tips for raising engagement levels

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8th Nov 2012
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Successfully raising engagement in an organisation involves more than doing an annual engagement survey.

Louise Rooney, head of HR at IT firm, ServiceSource, outlines her top tips for motivating staff to commit to the business.

1. Alignment

Identifying and being explicit about the company vision and values definitely helps employees connect with the business. This means more than displaying vision and values on the walls of the office – employees need to see the values in action in the behaviours their managers and senior leaders demonstrate.

Leadership programmes are useful in reinforcing these behaviours, but being held truly accountable for and challenged on behavior is even more powerful.

2. Success

It’s important to help employees to see the connection between what they do, their personal success and the success of the business. Achieving this drives an emotional investment in the organisation and improves overall business performance.

3. Empowerment

Building trust and holding people accountable for their actions and results develops a sense of empowerment and increases how meaningful individuals perceive their work to be.

Encouraging and supporting ‘non-work’ activities/groups eg. social group, sports team, community support group, etc, gives individuals a wider sense of purpose and a belief that the organisation is interested in their personal development not just business results.

4. Listening

Doing an annual engagement survey followed by a ‘you said….we did’ summary isn’t enough if you want to achieve a fully engaged workforce. You need to listen to what’s going on every day: what’s new? What are people unhappy about? What’s preventing them being successful? What do they enjoy?

Identifying what being said and what’s not said are equally as important. By listening and taking action on a continuous basis, and encouraging leaders to do the same, embeds the concept of engagement into the core of the organisation.

Louise Rooney is HR manager at IT firm ServiceSource

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By Emma Littmoden
13th Nov 2012 16:08

I think you are right that it comes down to behaviour.  It is fine to have all sorts of strategies in place on an organisational level, but the specific behaviours demonstrated by leaders throughout the entire business will impact whether individuals believe that they are truly valued and empowered to contribute fully to the success of the organisation.  You mention listening - I believe that communicating behaviours are absolutely fundamental when it comes to engagement levels.  Involving people, encouraging them to search within themselves to discover new ways of working and inspiring their passion for being the best they can be, all stems from asking rather than telling, sharing our thoughts openly and honestly, listening to others express theirs - listening with absolute attention, without assumption or distraction.  Many of the participants in our Personal Leadership Programmes say they have virtually never listened in this way and they find it one of the most challenging skills to develop.   However, our clients report significant increases in levels of engagement as a result of our programmes - up to 24%!  No matter what else we put in place, leadership has to be personal and the foundation is communicating in a way that builds relationships through openness and trust.


Emma Littmoden is a partner at leadership programme provider, The Living Leader.

 

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By onup
15th Nov 2012 09:56

Businesses which recognise the unarguable fact that a Focus on Engagement will result in improvements should be aware that it’s presenting a challenge to the Management Team.

Engagement will exist if a culture of Clever Management is developed and neutered by the business.
 
What many management teams need to recognise first is that we are all people, destined for the same outcome just on different paths.

Managers should be in their position through skill recognition the same as any other employee and their pay package should reflect their results in accordance to how their position benefits the business.

Being a good listener, having empathy, being open, honest and rational are all skills which go a long way to building the foundations of an exceptional Leader. For a Business to Engage with its Leaders a structure for training these skills needs to be established.

Paul Robertson is Consultant/Facilitator at OnUp Team Development - OnUp Website

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