What can Management do to help?
What is clear is that the attitude, behaviour and mind-set of Senior Managers is crucial in developing staff engagement. So the first task for Senior Leaders must be to ensure all line managers are fully engaged themselves, and know how to engage their staff, and create the required culture.
They may need to evaluate and possibly change the way they manage, who they recruit, and the work environment.
They need to address the issue of company identity, mission and culture, and work hard to ensure that working at the company is perceived as aspirational. Managers, Leaders and Executives should be accessible to staff, perhaps with regular networking opportunities for all.
If line management are aware staff are not engaged they can invest time in talking to them, see how they can help. The culture should be that devoting management time to staff problems is a priority for everyone.
Perhaps new benefits can be added to the compensation package. Remember to recognise and reward success.
Line managers should chat daily to staff “how’s it going? “, “Everything OK? “They should establish that it is normal and usual for problems and difficulties to be aired and discussed. They should be encouraged to listen, to develop their interpersonal skills.
As well as listening to staff, management should engage with and listen to clients, customers, suppliers and partners. They all have a viewpoint and may be able to contribute to the strategy.
Good principles to observe
Leaders set the tone for the culture and engagement, so they must be fully engaged with the staff. The culture must be right, the correct people must be recruited, who will add to the culture and engagement and not detract from it. They must “fit in “
There must be an emotional commitment between the company leaders and the staff, so that staff engage with the company.
Staff must trust leaders, trust their motivation, their ability, and their leadership, and be confident without question that the leader is acting in the best interests of everyone at all times.
Top candidates will actively seek to work with a company or brand that excites and interests them, and that will offer them challenging work and a sense of achievement.
Make sure all social media channels are engagement friendly. This includes your website, and LinkedIn profile as well as Facebook, Google and Glassdoor.
The message must be clearly communicated frequently. Staff and potential recruits need to hear why they should want to work for you, why you are the best, how they will feel when they work for you.
Engagement demands open communication, clear goals, and well-understood reward systems.
Staff should be recognised at every opportunity. Recognise their successes, big and small, recognise their birthday, celebrate the birth of a child, and recognise holidays, personal achievements, and team goals reached.
The company will benefit from a social aspect. Get everyone involved in some charity work, go for a drink after work, have a company “family fun day”, provide a buffet lunch for everyone at the end of the month.
What do the World’s best companies do?
They try to understand what their employees think, by using tools such as social media and online forums, encouraging discussion and debate and giving employees a voice.
They create an open and inclusive culture .Google has kitchens offering free food and an on-site free laundry service. They value employee opinions and hire by committee.
They demonstrate their appreciation and thank staff. DHL publicly thanks employees, sometimes giving monetary rewards, and they honour best performers at the annual black-tie event.
They commit to open communication and listen to employee feedback.
They support career development with formal mentoring and professional development plans.
They encourage social interactions, offer a social dimension to work, engage in community service projects, strengthen relationships with staff, ensuring everyone feels connected.
They build a strong employment brand that encourages people to want to work there, even people outside the company know what the culture is like.
Engagement is not built in a day. It requires constant attention and maintenance from leaders all day, every day. It has to be part of the culture, it is not a bolt-on, and it is the essence of the company.