You’ve seen the research. Read the reports. Talked to leaders and employees alike. You know that despite our quantifiable understanding of the bottom-line impact of employee engagement, it continues to elude most organizations.
The reason engagement is such a sought-after commodity is because it’s a powerful contributor to a cycle that every business wants and needs for long-term success. Here’s how it works:
- Engagement unlocks discretionary effort. It creates the conditions that encourage individuals to volunteer more of themselves, their time, their creativity, and their talents to the organization. Discretionary effort at its core is a choice people make to ‘go the extra mile,’ a choice based in large part on their level of engagement.
- Then, discretionary effort plays out in innumerable ways. Greater attention to the needs of customers. Improved sales and service. Innovations and improvements. Productivity and efficiency. Bottom-line results.
But it doesn’t stop there. Once you start this ‘engagement ring,’ the cycle can naturally perpetuate itself. Because the thing about employee engagement is that much of what it produces also feeds it.
Depending upon the study, key drivers of engagement include such factors as career opportunities, recognition, performance management, pride in working for the company, organizational reputation, and relationship with one’s immediate supervisor.
These items are inputs to engagement… but they are also frequently the outputs as well. For instance, when an employee is highly engaged in his or her work, and invests discretionary effort to drive extraordinary results:
- Career opportunities may be more likely to follow. These career opportunities encourage greater engagement and the ring continues.
- He or she is likely to receive recognition for their work. This recognition encourages greater engagement and the ring continues.
- The organization will excel, instilling pride. This pride encourages greater engagement and the ring continues.
The process can naturally perpetuate itself… but only once you get an employee into the engagement ring. The good news is that there are countless ways to begin this positive cycle – that also serve the business:
- Tap into the talents people want to use
- Demonstrate appreciation
- Ask for input
- Highlight successes
- Offer opportunities to learn and grow
- Provide honest, meaningful feedback
As leaders, one of the most strategic investments of time and energy may be in taking the actions required to get employees in the engagement ring… because once they get in, they’ll become part of this cycle that can nourish and sustain itself while delivering unbeatable business results.
So, what about you? Are you in the engagement ring? How do you help others in?
Image: Liz Price