The 5 Enablers of Employee Engagement
Previously on the blog we’ve talked about Shawn Achor’s ‘The Happiness Advantage’. It’s been proven that being in a happy or positive state of mind is a precursor to success, rather than the result of success.
So, how do you create workplace environment where employees are supported positive and engaged?
Dan Pink offers an approach in his book Drive (2009) for engagement and motivation amongst employees which involves three essential elements:
1) Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives
2) Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters
3) Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves
Pink’s theory on what motivates us across the areas of our lives, is supported by four decades of research on human motivation, and demonstrates a huge discord between practices in the workplace, and practices that actually work.
So how can we bring these essential elements to life in the workplace?
This is where the enablers of engagement can help! While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’, the four below are detailed in the original Engage for Success report (2009) by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke.
1) Strategic Narrative: What this means is a visible, empowering leadership that provides a strong strategic narrative about the organization – where it’s come from and where it’s going.
Purpose: Focusing on strategic narrative is a great way to build purpose for employees in the workplace. For example, have you heard the story about the janitor working at NASA? When asked what he did at NASA, he replied: ‘helping put a man on the moon’.
2) Leadership: What we mean by this is, engaging managers, who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people.
Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose: Your leaders and managers can help facilitate all three elements of Dan Pink’s approach. Leaders can promote the strategic narrative with their team, provide opportunities to voice their opinions and ideas, and discuss help them progress in their role.
3) Employee Voice: This means, where there is employee voice throughout the organisations, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally; employees are seen as central to the solution.
Mastery, Autonomy: Giving employees a voice provides them with the opportunity to positively impact your organization on a variety of levels, their role, the organizational culture, your products and services, and the way it feels to work around here.
To ensure conversations are genuinely two-way, and not just paying lip-service, encourage openness, good communication and approachability.
An example of providing your employees a voice, is with your Employee Engagement Survey. Communicate the results to all employees and pinpoint the actions you will take and when.
Have a look at our blog for some employee engagement survey tips on getting it right. We’ve also got a dedicated Employee Voice blog right here!
4) Integrity: There is organizational integrity: The values on the wall are reflected in day-to-day behaviours. There is no ‘say-do’ gap.
Purpose, Mastery: There is no quicker way to erode trust and engagement than to talk about values, and make promises about where the company is now and is heading in future, that don’t reflect employees everyday working lives. If there is little integrity in your organisation, employees might not feel they have a real purpose in their role now, or in future.
Focus groups are a great way to gather employee insight and establish if there are any gaps between your values and actions. They can enable leaders to understand any inconsistencies from the perspective of employees; once the gap has been established, the work can begin to close it.
Check out our Mind The Gap blog for assessing your organisation’s integrity.
There is a further enabler that our employee engagement expert Emma Bridger recommends adding to the list:
5) Involvement: Employee involvement, that is, the extent to which employees are personally involved in the success of the business, and the opportunities the organization creates for employees to get involved with their company.
Autonomy, Mastery: When you want to make changes in the workplace, setting up a group of Change Champions can help. They are employees who volunteer to help agree a small set of non-negotiable behaviours, to spark change by showing everyone else how they can get involved in it too. This gives the chance for employees to take some control and make a difference across the organisation.
These enablers can be used to form a framework to help assess the effectiveness of an organisation’s employee engagement approach.
We’ve got a fantastic toolkit for People Managers (The People Managers Toolkit!), which provides easy-to-use, practical tips and activities to engage your employees. Click here to see the People Managers Toolkit.
To find out how we can help put the 5 enablers in place, request a call-back from our expert Emma Bridger.