What are your thoughts? The article “Employee Engagement is a Two-Way Street” suggests that this really falls on the shoulders of the employees to engage themselves?? Yes, employees do have to accept some responsibility for their own engagement yet there are many, many external factors beyond their control that will affect their engagement levels. I do agree they should commit to ongoing development of their skills and knowledge, as the article points out and growth and improvement will help drive engagement. As mentioned in the article there are several forums and platforms employees can engage with that can offer diversity of thought and different perspective that can help shape an employees career- Ted Talks, Continuing education, etc.

It is important to note that there are both positive and negative influencers of engagement! Continuing education and development is a positive influencer but what about the negative influencers that lead to disengagement? Things like poor communication, lack of trust, little appreciation for effort and contribution…, both factors need to be considered and acted on!

Beyond the employee, who else is responsible for engagement of employees and how do they impact engagement levels? Here are a few thoughts on the major players involved. First it is important to note that this should be considered in the context of “Who is in the best position to influence and impact engagement levels, either positively or negatively?” Let’s look at some of the major people involved:

  1. CEO, President and Senior Executives (VP’s and Directors)-Who make the commitment that engagement is important to the organization and takes actions to make it happen? Without the support of the CEO or President engagement strategies and planning may not get very far as there will always seem to be other priorities. Each senior executive must commit to the engagement strategies and provide the resources and support necessary to help facilitate engagement as well as the budget and finances to make it happen.
  2. The Employees Direct Manager. There are so many ways that the manager plays a key role in engagement as in many ways they are the face of the organization. Here are a few ways managers play an important role: Recognizing Employees, Communication Challenges and Misunderstandings, Conflict resolution, Trust and Integrity, Building Teamwork, Camaraderie and Morale, Coaching and Support, Accepting and Encouraging ideas and Input… the list goes on!
  3. HR Department -Often they are charged with designed and managing engagement initiatives so they must determine what support and resources can help the managers and executive level. This could include training to help educate managers on the benefits of engagement as well as the skills and competencies that make it happen. All initiatives should be tested and measured to verify results. They also have a role to play in recruiting the right type of candidates that should engage with the organizational culture as well as their mission and values. This includes hiring the right employees that will fit and perhaps more importantly selecting managers and leaders with the mind set that engagement is important and an attitude, willingness and recognition that they have a key role to play in engaging employees.
  4. The Employee: Employees need to provide feedback on engagement surveys, actively participate in improvements and projects. They should also be willing to speak and communicate about their career desires and goals. Managers are not mind readers and without conversation dialogue that flows both ways it would be difficult for managers to support the individual and personal needs of the employees. There are also steps employees can take with exercises like Job Crafting to better enhance their work experience and build a more rewarding career!

It is too easy to say that engagement rests mainly with employees or it is mostly up to them to build their own engagement as there are too many factors beyond their control that can either positively or negatively affect their engagement. Which of the four areas above could improve in their support of engagement and how can they best positively influence engagement levels?

Everyone has a role to play and this is a shared responsibility to build and sustain an engaged workforce.

Light a Fire Inside Employees Instead of Trying to Light a Fire Underneath Them!