What is your top tip for improving employee engagement in 2010?

I’ve been asking this question a lot lately. Why?

Well I’m seeing lots of research indicating that people are drifting from the fixed grin of relief at being glad to keep their jobs, to a position of wanting to feel more engaged with their work.

Organisations therefore face challenges in engaging and trusting a workforce which is motivated and willing to deliver the service needed to help create and sustain a profitable and purposeful business model.

This feels like a time of great opportunity for people and organisations who can create a sense of trust and autonomy in the workplace. I’m interested to know how you would help to achieve that?

Been receiving some very interesting and useful replies fro across the globe. Here are a few, many thanks to all the contributors and there will be more to follow soon:

Neeraj Sharma wrote:

I suggest employees be given a week or two to work on whatever they wish to work on – and document what they did, what was achieved and how much they enjoyed doing it as compared to their regular responsibilities. The salesperson may design a logo, the accountant may decide to deal with customers etc. It will shake things up, they will feel refreshed as well as challenged, and develop a new perspective and an appreciation for what others do. Some may find their calling.

Ulco Landheer wrote:

I’d have as many employees as possible rotate through an organization (or department or business unit) a few (1-2) hours per month to somewhat random positions. For example, during a meeting of one team, you’d have their work done by random selected people from other teams. That way you’d make sure that the right hand actually knows what the left hand is doing. It’s something I found out to increase the respect between different bloodgroups and the understanding between employees.

Phil Johnson wrote:

Gallup has identified a link between the amount of authentic leadership (leading without a title) within a company and it’s level of employee
engagement. Employees have been shown to increase their level of “discretionary energy” and engagement if they are inspired by the actions of others around them.

Kevin Hardern wrote:

In my experience with large and smaller organisations, the steps are very similar:

– define an end vision and organisational structure to support it which clearly demonstrate value to the workforce and its clients;

– engage some people in the workforce to help define the steps on the way to achieve that end goal, ‘transition states’ which themselves deliver vale along the way

– resource the implementation plan sufficiently but not excessively

External help may be needed to deliver, but the focus should remain equally balance between the tasks and the people, communicating with them regularly and honestly, even when problems occur. People are not stupid and if they are trusted, see value in what is being attempted they will help achieve the change rather than push against it.
The difference between having the people on side and helping achieve a goal is the single most significant factor in achieving successful change in my experience. Most organisations fail because they focus on the tasks in hand and do not tap into this massive resource which is available and if asked, willing.

Using Commitment and Ownership to Enhance Engagement

One of the many links I followed on Twitter today took me to a very interesting piece by Terrence Seamon. The article is called “Engagement: A New Lens on Performance Review”. What I like about it is a) it’s a short and simple read and b) it ties engagement, productivity and performance together neatly. Here’s a brief extract and you can click here for the article on Terrence’s blog. Good work.

If a business leader hears about employee engagement and sees the potential in it to raise his organization’s productivity and profitability, how would he link it to his annual performance management process?

Commitment – Essentially, employee engagement comes down to commitment: How committed is the employee to the organization? Let’s cut to the quick on this and say: Employee commitment is directly related to the degree of commitment they feel from the organization. So, if you want high performance from employees, demonstrate your commitment to them. This can take a variety of forms. In the context of performance review, one thing you can do is “turn the tables” and ask the employee for feedback. Ask: How are we doing? What can we do to provide you with better support this year? What are your goals that we can help you with?

Ownership – Some employees are already highly engaged. If you could “pop the lid” on their psyches and peer inside, what would you see? One of the things you’d notice is that they have the attitude of an owner. They take ownership of the things they do. They don’t need much supervision. And they don’t need your feedback either in most cases. In fact, they are their own toughest critics most of the time.

Is Your Message Clear or Are You Contributing to the Noise?

This post is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants – an epic journey of over 75 guest posts. Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!

If you’re an avid reader of my blog…wait, you’re not reading it yet? What are you waiting for?

Ehem, anyway, if you’re an avid reader of my blog you know that I am not a man of few words – in  fact – if there’s one thing I continue to work on as a writer, it’s condensing my long winded thoughts into concise, easy to digest ideas. Because when it comes to writing, sometimes less is truly more.

Seth Godin, Carlos Miceli, & Tim Jahn are three guys I admire for their ability to say a lot without saying a lot. They represent a ‘big picture’ concept that a lot of bloggers and businesses neglect. They’re able to get their message across without clutter – they cut through the noise and get to the point. When you get wordy, when you throw a lot of messages and signals at someone, you run the risk of losing them in translation.

I’m a freelance web designer myself – and there are three things I always tell the clients I work with who are building their website or blog.

Your calls to action must be obvious

If I want to subscribe to your blog, send you an email, or buy your product. I don’t want to figure out how to do it; I just want to do it. Make sure it’s easy for your visitors to do what you want them to.

Provide easy navigation

Again, this goes along the same lines as creating clear calls to action – your page navigation needs to be clear and consistent. Leave a trail of breadcrumbs that is easy for your visitors to follow and navigate through.

Define your takeaways

On each page of your site, there needs to be a clear takeaway – whether it’s simply to read and comment on a blog post, subscribe to a newsletter, or sign up for a service – you need to define a purpose for every single page of your website – and make that purpose easy to define for your visitors.

You don’t hold your breath all the time. Sometimes a grandiose 1000 word blog post is in the cards – but never underestimate the power a few impactful words can have. Sometimes, in fact, often-times, less truly can be more. There is beauty in simplicity.