The most important component in building an engaged workplace – the engaged employee! How do we ensure our employees come prepared and motivated to demonstrate high levels of engagement, and to inspire their peers to do the same?
Here are five ways in which we can work to ensure this is the case:
- Selection of skilled and motivated candidates for employment
- Development to increase their chances of success
- Recognition of accomplishment in meaningful ways
- Celebration as a team for milestones on the journey together
- Connections to mentors, leaders, customers and others
Selection of engaged and prepared employees is the product of a well-planned recruitment and on-boarding process. The process should be designed to determine that candidates have the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in the role, and also to create an environment as close as possible to the one the candidate will experience as an employee.
It is important to allow the candidate to express themselves freely, ask questions, and to provide information that will allow you to assess their ability to respond to the types of challenges they will face on your team. You will want them to be able to assess the organization and determine if it is a good match for them.
You will want to specifically address their level of engagement, and their feelings about a highly engaged work environment. Once selected, the integration of the candidate into the work environment should not only include specifics about their role, the organization, policies and procedures, but an introduction to the engagement culture of your organization, behaviors associated with it, and individuals who will support the new employee in this environment.
Development of the new employee should include not only technical and business skills, but abilities directly related to the engagement culture and process. These might include: facilitation, mentoring, negotiation, critical thinking ability, and presentation skills.
Special attention should be paid to the performance review process to ensure it is consistent with engagement goals, meaningful, and performed with a focus on the employee’s long term success. It should be timely, so it can benefit performance, and not just occur as a requirement to justify compensation. It is also important in the review process to capture contributions the employee is making beyond their job description, and to note talents and abilities not used in their current position, that may benefit the organization in the future.
Recognition of accomplishment should be conducted in a way that is meaningful to the employee and not “status quo.” It should reflect the employee’s accomplishment and highlight behaviors associated with engagement. Other individuals involved in the accomplishments being recognized should be allowed to contribute.
Considerations in deciding upon recognition should include:
- what motivates the employee
- who should be involved in the recognition
- who the recognition should come from
- who should be present
- how there recognition reflects the employee’s skills, personality and interests
- how the recognition will help the employee to be successful in the future
Celebration of success supports engagement and should involve the groups involved, or possibly the entire company. It is important to set, meet and celebrate milestones together. As appropriate, celebrations may include family members, customers, and other groups involved with, or who benefit from, the accomplishments being highlighted.
As in the home environment, connections play an important part in the success of employees and their level of engagement. These connections should be formed from the time the employee arrives, and may include:
- leaders, mentors, colleagues, customers, community partners, industry members, representatives of professional or trade organizations, and others who enhance the employee’s work experience.
Connections provide balance, advice, and a positive sounding board for employees seeking to develop their level of engagement. Who are the individuals who have helped you to be successful at work? In what ways have they inspired you? In what ways have they been present in your professional development and recognition experiences?