Ask anyone on my team what my most important value is and they’ll say Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. To me, an enthusiastic employee is an engaged employee. Engagement is caring …. And caring leads to greater profitability.
The problem: the American workforce faces a massive crisis when it comes to employee engagement. Only 3 out of 10 employees are fully engaged at work (according to a 2012 Gallop pole). You can have the best systems and strategy in the world, but if no one cares, it isn’t going to matter.
In his book, Employee Engagement 2.0, Kevin Kruse defines employee engagement as “the emotional commitment an employee has to an organization and the organization’s goals”. I think emotion is the keyword here. In sales, we always try to make it emotional. Why? Because, if you can get someone to feel something, you can get them to do something. An emotionally committed person may forego the closing bell at 5 pm and stay late to finish the project because they are emotionally invested.
Engagement is where the work meets passion when work no longer feels like work. It’s the sales rep prospecting on the weekend at their child’s soccer game. It’s the field manager conducting interviews at night to ensure his team has enough feet on the street to hit the company revenue goals. Emotional engagement is that next step beyond commitment.
It should go without saying that people are engaged in different things. Let’s look at the things that create engagement and things that people need in order to be engaged.
- VALUES: Let your team know the company values and how they can demonstrate them. Let them see you making decisions based on those values.
- BUSINESS VISION: Communicate your company’s vision broadly and often.
- PERSONAL VISIONS: How are you working with your employees to tie their personal vision into the company’s vision? What does success in their career mean to them? You can’t help them achieve it if you don’t know. Conducting personal three-year development plans will generate buy-in and emotional commitment.
- LEADERSHIP: How are we as leaders managing people differently, dependent on their development level?
- RESILIENCE: Part of your role as a leader is to work to build your team’s resilience. Mistakes are going to happen. A resilient team can handle mistakes well and take corrective action quickly. A resilient team doesn’t get mired down in resentment or negative self-talk.
- TRUST: Do what you say you’ll do. This seems so elementary, but not doing so undermines the whole culture of your company.
- RESPECT: How do we talk to our people? How do your crew leaders talk to their team?
- INTERVIEWING: Spend time screening out employees that won’t fit your culture.
- GOALS: Engage your achievement minded employees with goals to foster engagement.
- CONTRIBUTIONS: Give your people the opportunity to make a difference by asking them for input and to be part of company initiatives.
- MENTOR: Do your key employees have a mentor, someone who is helping them to learn and develop?
- CARING: People don’t care what you have to say until they know that you care about them.
- INCLUSION: How do you make your employees feel like they’re part of a team?
- CHALLENGED: Do you know which employees need more responsibility?
- APPRECIATION: It is the most undervalued form of currency. Recognition and a simple thank you go further than many managers understand.
Find what each member of your team needs to feel engaged and help them get there. The easiest way to start is just by asking them! And when you do, always remember, an engaged company is a profitable company!
All the best,