Employee Engagement: A New Approach
I was happy to read an article in Forbes (The Best Employee Engagement Strategy is From The Bottom Up, 22/06/2015) focusing on changing the Employee Engagement strategy from being a traditionally top-down approach decided upon by senior managers to being a bottom up approach. This has been the etimes2 approach and was our aim as we developed our Employee Engagement Building Platform.
The author, Kevin Kruse, is perfectly correct in asserting that the traditional method of developing employee engagement strategies is mistaken. It is true that the only people who can fully comment on what will make the workplace more engaging is the people who responded to the survey in the first place. It is also right that there needs to be a conversation between the manager and team members about the survey results and prioritising improvement areas.Taking It Further
However, there is a key difference between the Etimes2 approach and all the good information and advice offered by the article. This key difference is in how we think about the individual within the team and his/her role in creating an engaged workplace.
The article states that “70% of the variance in engagement correlates to the manager”. This creates the potential for a lot of history and experiences between the individual employee and the manager. These experiences and history will have a significant influence on how engaged or disengaged the employee is and will also shape their perceptions about what is happening in both their team and their organisation.
The article also makes one telling statement – “if your boss hasn’t changed (his)her behaviours” – as a key reason for bottom up engagement. However, the advice given here doesn’t go as far as creating a bottom-up approach. It creates a ‘middle-up’ approach to engagement because it suggests the bottom level is with the manager and the team. It leaves the engagement survey result in the hands of the manager.
The “behaviours” that the manager “hasn’t changed” are very important here. From these behaviours, what does the individual team member expect to happen? What has been the norm in the past? The individual will refer to the experiences and perceptions mentioned above to rationalise the survey results coming back and how s/he believes the manager will follow through on actions identified. If these thoughts are negative, there will be more required than this conversation to engage the team.Bottom Up Starts With The Individual
Instead of considering this team conversation as the “bottom”, we should consider bottom up as starting with the individual. Technology has made it possible for engagement survey results to be individualised and for each employee to know where s/he stands. It also enables us to encourage the individual to create a personal action plan focused on becoming more engaged.
Etimes2 is an Engagement Building Platform that not only measures and provides real time feedback on employee engagement in your organisation. It also provides individualised feedback to each employee. Within minutes each employee will have completed the engagement survey, receive feedback and will be creating personal engagement action plans to increase own engagement levels within a safe, confidential and incentivised environment.
This, in turn, can lead to a much more productive conversation between the manager and team as individual team members are considering their own engagement and what it will take to increase this. It also provides some upward pressure on the manager to consider the role his/her behaviour plays in team engagement levels and to develop a personal action plan to become a more engaging leader.How do you enable individual team members to fully contribute to engagement levels within your teams?Nigel McPolin is the creator and founder of Etimes2, an Engagement Building Platform that drives sustained behaviour, engagement and performance throughout the organisation.Visit www.etimes2.com for more information and a free trial.
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