Employee Engagement -- It's a term that found its way into pop culture over a decade ago. Although it's beginnings as a buzz phrase seemed like something that would vanish in the night for many old school managers, new age leaders have embraced the idea and found ways to bring authentic employee engagement into new light.
It's important to understand that authentic employee engagement, like any other successful business process, is multi-faceted. There are certain levels, goals, and ideas that must serve as the foundation for a sincere program.
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Here's a look at the five steps to authentic employee engagement any organization should follow:
1. The Process
At the root of your organization, what's driving your people to do what they do everyday?
The harder an employee's job, particularly when they don't need to be as difficult as it is, the less engaged they are going to be. Manual processes can cause a huge strain on staff members in today's technologically-driven society. When you put urgency over efficiency, you're driving loyalty away from key players in your organization.
Simply put by Forbes, " If you show up to work and are forced to use technologies that were considered 'cool' in the 90s then clearly you’re going to be a bit frustrated with getting your job done."
Compliance is an ongoing struggle for organizations. Entry-level technology tops-out pretty quickly, leaving staff members to fend for themselves the rest of the way. While any technology is usually better than no technology, outdated information systems and tons of red tape can leave a lot to be desired in terms of compliance and information management. "Highly engaged companies work very hard to make work simple. They remove administrative overhead (compliance processes, formal check-off processes, multistep processes) in favor of trust, autonomy, and a focus on cooperation," reports Deloitte University Press.
Reactive resourcing and departmental silos are other struggles often faced by organizations that are trying to overcome engagement barriers. When teams are overworked, understaffed, and behind departmental barriers, engagement will likely be quite low.
Efficiency is the mid-point in the five steps to authentic employee engagement. At this point, you've employed integrated systems that do a decent job of completing tasks. You've achieved efficiency to the point your employees can perform their day-to-day functions with ease. At the Efficiency phase, your teams are experiencing departmental synergy, and the barriers are beginning to break down between departments. As the silo effect fades away, fluid communication is facilitated. You've gained employee acceptance.
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Beyond efficiency is effectiveness. You're no longer just making it work, you're making it work well. Your company has managed to create processes that allow you to produce analyzable results, and you have metrics in hand that will help you measure successes and opportunities going forward. Now you're able to gain real-time insights, of which you can be proactive, rather than reactive. Your employees have adopted your company's culture, and they're excited about the possibilities you've laid before them.
You've made it! With enhanced communication channels and strong efforts toward organic culture development, your employees are championing your cause, and they're all in. You've created an environment where employee satisfaction and engagement is of the utmost concern, and your staffers understand that you value them. Your HR team is freed from paperwork and able to work on initiatives and recognition programs that will further enhance loyalty, transparency, and all of the elements necessary to keeping your employees engaged and on board.
Authentic employee engagement can't be born from spreadsheets and board meetings. It involves input from all levels of the organization. Companies must facilitate feedback and be open to input in order for revolutionary changes to occur. These five steps are simple rungs in a ladder that is built for success.