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3 Things you can do to Make Employee Engagement a Top Priority

Michael Bertrand
by Michael Bertrand on March 11, 2014

employee engagement a top priorityDion Hinchcliffe notes that technology is accelerating at a rate far faster than the typical IT department can manage. This creates an "opportunity gap" where consumers are adopting technology at a rate faster than business can deliver. Companies that can't bridge the gap can find themselves on the rocks in a surprisingly short time - consider how Blockbuster Entertainment's entry into streaming video was too little, too late to fend off collapse.

What does this have to do with employee engagement? The pace of change isn't going to let up any time soon. Responding with foresight and agility is really, really tough when your workforce bears a resemblance to the extras on the Walking Dead. But if Hinchcliffe is right, the organizations that make the leap to a successful digital strategy are those that can bridge the technology gap internally - meaning that everyone onboard is going to be expected to give a little extra.

What You Can Do Right Now

An alert, active and engaged workforce is the starting place for rapid response. So how do you shift gears and make engagement a top priority for organizational transformation? The answer is surprisingly simple but it will take some discipline to pull off. Here are some things you can do right now.

  • Practice Mindfulness - situational awareness or "mind like water" - being present in the moment is part of the secret sauce behind companies ranging from Southwest Airlines to Whole Foods. Being aware of your own obstacles and opportunities and approaching each day with a clean slate is the starting point for recognizing the contributions of others.
  • Use recognition to get buy-in and drive technology adoption. Letting employees know that you appreciate their willingness to step up and move forward is one of the best ways to get buy-in, especially when you make your recognition widely visible. And this doesn't mean you have to shower expensive gift cards on your workers, it can be something as simple as a balloon.
  • Build your "Praise Muscle" If your organization isn't currently steeped in recognition and reward your first couple of "attaboys" might feel a little forced and hollow. Don't worry. David Zinger assures that like any other discipline, recognition gets easier with practice.

Looking Down the Road

Listening and observing are a huge part of the action-recognition-engagement cycle. A lot of this can be done through "management by walking around." But ultimately your best bet is going to be a workplace social network. If you don't have such a network underway now is the time to start exploring your options. But don't keep this project to yourself. Share it with someone who shows promise in your company as a way to say "keep up the good work."

Michael Bertrand
Written by Michael Bertrand

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