Engagement… THE Buzz Word

All companies want their employees to be engaged.  But what exactly does that mean? What’s the outcome? Why try so hard to impress the people who are getting a paycheck? Isn’t that enough?

Not anymore! For a long time companies were able to coast on the idea that providing a solid career and an optimistic retirement plan was enough, and employees were satisfied with that. However, now, employees expect more; they expect to be engaged.  According to gallup.com, 51% of employees are searching for a new job or at least watching new openings while only 33% are actually engaged at work. These numbers should be concerning to any company because there’s a lot that a company can do to try to improve the motivation, wellbeing and engagement of a team.

So, what is engagement? It’s motivation. It’s passion for the job. It’s knowing a company’s mission and living the company’s culture. It’s commitment to the job, the team, the organization. As I will discuss in future blogs, some engagement is internally driven, but an employee’s company can implement things to increase engagement.  What kills engagement? Empty promises, no communication, forced interactions and unethical behavior. Anything that makes the employee go, “Hmmm… Something’s not quiet right!”

While reading A World Gone Social by Ted Coiné and Mark Babbit, it further confirmed my thoughts that engagement must run rampant through an organization, not only just with employees but also any person who has a relationship with the organization . But engagement should start with employees in order to encourage customer loyalty (p.51).  “In fact, it is quite simply impossible to build an engaged customer base, inspire loyalty among vendors, and generate an attractive employer brand without engaged, passionate employees serving as a strong foundation” (p. 51).

share_05The pair go on to demonstrate that transparency, communication and trust within the organization is the way to create engagement (p. 55-56). I think trust has to be at the foundation of an employee/employer relationship before the word engagement can even be thrown around with the smallest amount of understanding.  Coiné and Babbit also repeatedly tie the idea of engagement to leadership, which is also spot on (p.54). If a leader isn’t being authentic or isn’t connected to employees, it’s an uphill battle to get those people to root for the company and provide great customer service. The leader has the ability to build a trusting culture where employees feel valued or a culture of fear, frustration and angst.

Engagement is a buzzword for most companies, but bringing it to life can be crucial to the success of a business. A way to differentiate themselves from their competitors, so they are a company that people want to be a part of, not just have to clock-in at for a livelihood.

Is your company obsessed with engagement? How do they make it a reality? Let me know by commenting below.

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