Surveys show a high percentage of people in the work force are not engaged in their work. They are simply going through the motions for a paycheque.
Recently on his blog, Winnipeg consultant David Zinger has been detailing 10 steps to employee engagement, which he has shaped into what he calls the employee engagement pyramid, explaining the building blocks for success:
At the top of the pyramid is the main target: getting employees involved in formulating the results that the company should be seeking, and then having them be intent on achieving those agreed-to results. "Powerful results matter to managers, organizations, employees, and customers," Mr. Zinger notes.
The Progress Principle by Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer, published last year, presented fascinating research that indicated the key to motivation and engagement for knowledge work is making progress each day at work. Managers therefore need to structure work so that progress is visible (and do their best to prevent setbacks).
Managers need to figure out how to make top performance worthy of employees' attention and provide feedback that is heard and heeded by those employees.
Management needs to show employees that their accomplishments are appreciated. "Authentic recognition is so much more than an annual gala or occasional gift card for good behaviour. Recognition is social, strategic, and powerful," Mr. Zinger says.
Work is social. Research by Harvard Business School professor emeritus John Kotter found that one of the factors that distinguished general managers with consistently outstanding performance records from their counterparts was their ability to develop and maintain a strong network of relationships. Gallup's famed questionnaire on engagement has several questions about the strength of relationships at work with colleagues and supervisors.
Energy drives us. It comes in many forms including physical, emotional, and mental. Mr. Zinger also cites the importance of spiritual energy; that is, being caught up in a mission that is greater than ourselves.
Research is consistently showing the importance of bringing out the strengths of employees to energize them, rather than harping on weaknesses.
If managers can make the work meaningful, it will engage, sustain and enrich people.
Doug Conant, former chief executive officer of Campbell Soup Co., used what he called TouchPoints to transform the dismal engagement scores at his company, and to make the most of the times that managers interact with employees.
"Engagement resides in the moments," Mr. Zinger observes. "Each of the many connections you make has the potential to become a high point or a low point in someone's day."
As a manager, you must eliminate the toxic aspects of your workplace. Employees must be allowed to find a sense of well-being at their work so they leave each day enlivened, rather than depleted.
Special to The Globe and Mail