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There's no "I" in employee engagement

Steven Green
by Steven Green on July 7, 2016

There's no "I" in employee engagement | TemboSocialRemember those middle school inspirational posters that reminded you there's no "I" in team? Well, the same is true of employee engagement: it's not a "one-man show," no matter how brilliant your ideas are. 

Employee engagement is all about forming a positive employee culture, motivating staff to want to excel, fostering collaboration to capitalize on talents, and inspiring team members to share their innovative ideas. In short, its very purpose is to get workers more involved, so it makes sense that the success of engagement initiatives relies on bringing staff members on board right from the beginning.

A strong employee culture requires all hands on deck

Why can't engagement be created from the top down? According to CEB research, policies are only as effective as their adoption by staff at all levels, the Huffington Post UK reported. In other words, if you have a great plan but no sway to inspire workers to participate authentically, it's not going to work. Take a look at some of the data from the report:

  • More than 60% of employees knowingly ignore company policies
  • 15% of employees have observed misconduct, but nearly half keep silent for fear of retaliation or ineffective management

The study concluded that "tone at the top" does not filter through the ranks, despite the importance of having middle management involved in implementing policies and programs. In short, efforts to foster company values stop short at top-level executives if mid-level managers aren't actively engaging their teams. Participation at all ranks is crucial to a transformative culture.

It's about influence, not manipulation

There's no "I" in employee engagement | TemboSocialGood leaders have an impact because their team members already respect them and pay attention to the messages they send. Managers can inspire greater participation in company initiatives by helping their workers to understand the reasons and importance behind processes, empowering them to take responsibility and ownership themselves. 

Focus on Leadership emphasized that good leaders influence, they don't manipulate. Put another way, their power depends on their ability to mobilize their teams toward a common goal by inspiring employees to take a vested interest in the organization's mission and values. To have this effect, leaders must develop trust and relationships.

The power of community

In addition to strong leadership at the top, employee engagement depends on positive relationships and behaviors among the entire working community. LeadingCompany described how disengaged employees have a contagious effect, spreading their discontent, apathy and lack of inspiration throughout the office. The reverse is also true: Engaged co-workers foster the desire to go the extra mile, contribute to the team and participate meaningfully in projects. 

Overall, managers need strategies to get their entire teams excited about work and invested in building a positive employee culture. This starts with good listening, whether they solicit feedback from workers in surveys or simply talk more frequently with their staff. Then, they can identify the personal motivators and concerns of their employees. Workers are more likely to participate in initiatives that respond to their feedback and can be empowered by opportunities to lead projects based on their own ideas. 

Learn more about the importance of communication in engaging your employees and stimulating a strong employee culture.

The Power of Conversation

Steven Green
Written by Steven Green

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