Head + Heart + Hand: The Formula for Successful Employee Engagement
Every company runs on employee fuel. Employees are the drivers, movers, shakers and breakers of companies. Whether we believe it or not, if we do not use our employee fuel effectively, efficiently or strategically, our business will fizzle out and grind to a halt.
More companies are beginning to see the value of employee engagement. Some of the most common and popular benefits of employee engagement include increased productivity, increased retention due to employee satisfaction, and increased profitability from creativity and innovation.
You may then ask, why are so many companies still not investing in employee engagement? Why is it so difficult to get buy-in from senior management? My answer, you need to employ the right formula to get both the buy-in and results. The formula for successful, effective and profitable employee engagement is combining the head, heart and hand of each employee.
Each employee learns, discerns, communicates and demonstrates their abilities and experiences in different ways. Leveraging the various skills, experiences and expertise in your organization and on your teams will require both tact and deliberate execution. Being able to identify, develop, hone and utilize the diversity and depth of skills, abilities and knowledge is key to both keeping employees engaged and advancing the mission of the organization.
How do we do this? We need to align employees, jobs and strategies. We need to ensure the right employee is doing the right job at the right time. Employees want to be stimulated, appreciated and validated. By giving them an opportunity to utilize their skills, get creative and participate in the greater plan and picture, you are keeping their head in the game.
What does heart have to do with anything? Well, most studies on employee engagement recognize a strong connection between employee tenure, performance and engagement with a sense of belonging. Being part of a mission and vision that is larger than themselves, can give employees a lifeline that keeps them contributing long after the wind of compensation has passed.
How do you get the heart involved? Acceptance, involvement and acknowledgement. Humans have a need for belonging and acceptance. Letting employees know that they are accepted for who they are at work, involving them in policies, procedures and plans and providing acknowledgement of their achievements and contributions are keys to keeping their hearts locked in.
The first thought that may come to mind may not be so wrong. Having employees involved, whether with physical or figurative hands, is a key part of the formula to creating strong engagement. Employees want to know that what they are doing is meaningful and valued. Giving employees work just to pass time or to create work can easily create disengagement. With the plethora of skills, experiences and knowledge that your workforce posses, ensuring that work is meaningful, productive, efficient and diverse is crucial not only to employees, but also to the business bottom line.
How do we keep the work of hands meaningful and productive? Many companies promote cross-training, job shadowing and employ succession planning. Catering to the needs of employees through variety of work, professional development, cross-functional teams and facilitating knowledge and skills sharing environments further advances the mission of business continuity.
A successful employee engagement strategy can be a key differentiator in business profitability, longevity and continuity. To continue to service external customers, your internal customers need to feel valued, supported and celebrated. This positive environment can create positive experience for your external customer. According to Doug Conant, “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” A successful employee engagement strategy ensures you are winning internally and externally as well. Are you combining the heads, hearts and hands of your employees?