Eight Elements of Employee Engagement™
Employee engagement, that willingness of each employee to strive to do their best work on a daily basis, has become the leading indicator of performance and competitiveness across all organizations. How do organizations achieve an exceptional level of engagement on the part of their employees so that they are willing to go "above and beyond" as a standard practice?
We feel the answer to this question can be found in the Eight Elements of Employee Engagement™ listed below, which are used as the basis for evaluating and selecting our choice for the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™. These elements are the key drivers of employee engagement, which together form the foundation of any successful human capital strategy.
Leadership is the engine that drives everyone in the organization to succeed. Through their every action, your leaders both inspire the performance the organization most desires and serve to model that behavior for others to emulate. The relationship between employees, managers and senior leaders has a significant impact on employee engagement. Most people who feel they are working for a good manager also feel they have a good job and are more willing to do their best to help their manager and organization be successful.
Communication is an essential element for any high-performing organization and a top motivator for employees everywhere. Good communication is open, honest and timely. Communication needs to be fluid, frequent and multi-directional throughout the organization. Managers need to be accessible to employees for questions, support and encouragement. Good leaders share the organization's successes as well as its failures with employees. Whether the news is good or bad, people want and need to know. Good communication is also systematic and predictable, not random.
Great companies have something in common: they all have a unique corporate culture which binds people together in positive ways and galvanizes employees to excel. The most successful companies have deeply engrained corporate cultures and values that employees closely identify with and promote. Your corporate culture needs to resonate with your employees in order to promote engagement. Strong cultures of engagement are also good at hiring employees that fit the organization's culture, teaching and reinforcing the organization's cultural values, and holding managers accountable to act in ways that support the organization's culture.
4. Rewards and Recognition
Every engagement culture is also a strong culture of recognition and rewards in which employees get noticed for what they do well. This includes formal recognition, which most companies traditionally offer (such as years of service or employee of the month programs), but, more importantly for today's employees, incorporates informal recognition and rewards that are available and used by managers and peers on a daily basis as warranted. A well-defined recognition and reward system allows employers to effectively differentiate between good and poor performers and tie recognition and rewards directly to the behavior that matters for the success of the organization.
5. Professional and Personal Growth
Another key dimension of employee engagement everywhere is the opportunity for employees to learn and develop new skills and capabilities. Most employee development occurs on the job in the form of new projects or responsibilities and the chance for employees to take initiative to develop their own opportunities; to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Professional growth is about being challenged in one's job and being given meaningful work and opportunities for training and advancement. Professional and personal growth is often intertwined for most employees. There are many ways that managers can show they care and support their employees' personal and career development.
6. Accountability and Performance
People who perform well feel good about themselves and where they work. Their performance and that of the organization helps to ensure ongoing success and serves as a strong motivator. Everyone wants to feel like they are part of a winning team and that they are contributing to that team's success. High performers – the A-players that all employers want to retain – hate to lose. A results-driven organization recruits top talent, recognizes hard work and coaches its employees to even higher levels of performance, which in turn helps to inspire other employees. Managers and employees also need to be held accountable to the expected levels of performance to which they have committed, ideally in a positive and proactive manner, but in whatever way is necessary to keep performance on track for the individual, the team and the organization.
7. Vision and Values
All organizational performance starts with a clear, compelling vision and core values that underscore how that vision will be achieved. Engaged employees understand the big picture and how they fit into it. A clearly communicated vision and statement of core values give employees something to rally around. If an employee feels like he or she is part of something bigger than themselves, they will be much more likely to be fully engaged and go above and beyond to contribute to that greater purpose.
8. Corporate Social Responsibility
Employees increasingly want to work for organizations that are socially responsible in their products and services, business practices, and as members of the communities in which they operate. As such, there is a direct correlation between corporate social responsibility and employee engagement. Successful companies tend to be deeply engaged with their community and committed to social efforts such as charities, social causes and the environment. Such organizations encourage employees to participate in worthy causes that make the world a better place.