Are Your Employees Committed?
    How would you define employee engagement? How do we obtain it? It sure
    isn’t new terminology – but there still seem to be many businesses leaders
    that are confused by what it really means – or about the value in obtaining it.
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By Kellie Auld
Employment & Relationship Specialist/
Simply Communicating
Kellie is a Certified Human Resources Professional; has
Certification in Human Resources Management through
the University of Calgary; a Provincial Instructor’s Diploma;
as well as having a Certificate in Adult Continuing
Education through the University of Victoria.
The way I would describe an engaged employee is to say that he is committed to
the organization and not only understands the role that that he has been hired to
do; but feels connected and driven to succeed in that role. In many cases, it
starts by understanding why the company is in business and respecting the
mission, vision and values of the company.
Real employee engagement is not easily achieved; but I believe that based on all
of the mounting evidence that has been accumulating over the years of research
into the value of having engaged employees, smart business leaders must
consider ways of obtaining it. It is definitely not something one could call ‘the
flavour of the month.’

According to a report put out by the United States Conference board way back in
2006; high levels of employee engagement keenly correlate to individual, group
and corporate performance in areas such as retention, turnover, productivity,
customer services and loyalty – and this is not just by small margins. While
differences varied from study to study, highly engaged employees outperform
their disengaged counterparts by a whopping 20 – 28 percentage points!

The Institute for Employment Studies also did extensive work on studying
employee engagement and a report was presented by Robinson & Hayday
(supported by IES Research Networks), which confirmed that indeed committed
employees perform better.

I have always thought there was a correlation between the relationship
employees had with line management that made a difference and it seems that
the report the IES confirms this belief.

So, the question now becomes – how do we ensure that our line managers are
giving their employees opportunities to do the things that seem to point to
employee engagement, such as:
It makes sense that smaller organizations would probably have an easier time of creating an environment in which
employees could be engaged – since there are fewer levels of communication channels to go through – but it doesn’t
mean that changes can’t be made.

The company must be committed as well – it’s really about a form of psychological contract that must be undertaken. If a
business is serious about getting their employees engaged and really becoming top performers, dedicated to their tasks;
then planning the steps in accomplishing that goal must be undertaken.

I know none of this is new – as I say – studies have been around for many years – but I suspect it is because of the hard
work that must go into developing an engaging workforce that not all companies are succeeding in doing so.

What are some of the steps to engaging your people?

    • A clear mission and values that the organizational leaders are truly committed to
    • Communicating and living the mission and values to the employees and ensuring they become the
    culture of the organization
    • Ensuring that the line managers are effective and illustrating they value the employees
    • Development plans and performance appraisals that are meaningful
    • Clear practices and policies that leaders and managers are committed to
    • Recognition that is meaningful to the employee (there is no one size fits all here – you need to know
    your people)

For some companies, it may mean a long hard look at the barriers that prevent engagement and then deciding if they
really want to commit to the challenge.

It’s possible that changes will need to be made right from the way they hire their people, orient them into the
organization, and train their front line managers. I can’t even being to imagine the work that would need to be done in
some cases; however, I can imagine the successful results that would be achieved.
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• Involvement in decision-making
• Having a voice to express their ideas and have those ideas valued