“I can’t tell if you are agreeing with me or mocking me.” Dilbert’s boss.
“That’s sort of a gray area.” Dilbert
Needless to say, Dilbert is not an engaged employee. His pointy headed boss has failed to win his respect. Earning loyalty is a critical component of employee engagement but too often we fail at it. The success factors of employee engagement have been heavily researched, and here is what we know.
Develop meaningful relationships. Managers can build loyalty in employees by working alongside them and establishing meaningful communication. As the old saying goes, “Respect has to be earned. It cannot be commanded.”
Avoid cults of one. Employees who are loyal and connected to a team and company will perform at a higher level for the company. Employees who are overly engaged with a manager/mentor may compromise the higher good to please the leader.
Create a common vision. All employees should be motivated around a common vision that is aligned with the organization’s goals.
Cultivate employee careers. A powerful sign of commitment to an employee is investing in his/her growth. Take time to chart a career path, give career advice and provide training.
Visible empowerment. Employees should be able to see their contributions, evaluate their effectiveness and make decisions about next steps.
Individuality matters. Know your employee’s talents and make use of them effectively within the team. Your employees will work more effectively when they are engaged in tasks that they excel at.
Return on investment . Employees are more motivated to perform when their achievements are acknowledge and appreciated.
The onus is on you. Managers have the most influence on the extent to which employees are engaged. Not only do they serve as supervision, but also as leadership and a source of guidance.
It’s a virtuous circle. The manager’s confidence in his own abilities influences his ability to engage employees, and bestows confidence in employees to use him/her as a resource.
The devil is in the details: Dilbert’s pointy headed boss had it right – the details matter. Organizational procedures influence employee engagement. If guidelines and protocols are unclear and inconsistent, employees will quickly lose confidence.
The link between motivation and rewards is well recognized today. Reward programs have proven to be very successful at attracting initial employee engagement in a program. A carrot can draw employees to the program but only a real engagement strategy will keep them there