Matt Johnson reflects on the recent launch session of Engage for Success Milton Keynes, one of a number of local groups being established around the country to foster a culture of #lovewhereyouwork.
‘Employee engagement’ is one of the most liberally dispensed terms in the business world, but ask any group of people what it really means and you’re unlikely to hear the same answer twice.
It isn’t just that people interpret engagement differently. It actually means different things to different people. The way we engage with others, our reasons for doing so and the outcomes we expect all differ depending on numerous factors.
So how do we know if we’re engaging people effectively, or even at all?
According to Cathy Brown, Executive Director, Engage for Success, there are four enablers of engagement that apply in any scenario – wherever you are, whatever you do and whoever you’re engaging with.
1) Visibly empowering leadership that provides strong strategic narrative (i.e. where the organisation has come from, where it’s going and how employees can contribute)
2) Engaging managers who focus on their people, treat them as individuals, coach and develop them
3) Facilitating employee voice throughout the organisation – both internally and externally
4) Organisational integrity, which means the values displayed on the wall are reflected in everyday behaviour.
These enablers don’t aim to define what engagement is – a single, universal definition is frankly impossible given the near-infinite number of variables.
Instead, they provide a framework on which to build effective engagement strategies.
Employers and managers should be wary of trying to define engagement too precisely. As Cathy explained during the launch session, some of the most commonly held perceptions in this area are erroneous.
Engagement is not:
• Everybody pulling in the same direction. This could be done through fear. If that’s the case then, in the end, everyone will burn out.
• Productivity. People can be productive, but not necessarily creative or innovative.
• Doing your job. If you’re doing your job in a way that just ticks the boxes then you’re not engaged. This can harm the employer/employee relationship and also the organisation’s reputation.
To find out more about employee engagement and Engage for Success, visit engageforsuccess.org
To find out more about the Milton Keynes Engage for Success group or join the mailing list for future events, email Sue Kiddy, one of the launch team.
Engage for Success blog: Milton Keynes Event: Lifting The ‘OK’ Group #lovewhereyouwork