Making Engagement a Bit More Concrete

As more evidence shows a direct connection between employee engagement and the bottom line, efforts to enhance workplace engagement are gaining popularity. When asked how effective such efforts are, however, there isn’t always a clear answer. Avoid the “we’ll know it when we see it” syndrome by considering recent research from The Ken Blanchard Companies on the top employee work passion factors. These factors fall into three categories: job, organizational, and relationship. Below are several of these factors as well as specific actions supervisors and managers can take to enhance the level of engagement at your organization.

Job factors:
  • Autonomy – This goes beyond simply empowering employees to make decisions about their own work and tasks and control their ability to achieve their goals. Such empowerment must be rewarded and explicitly recognized.
  • Workload Balance – Help employees set realistic goals and timelines and make sure work assignments fit the time allotted.
  • Task Variety – Some people need more variety than others—don’t assume everyone wants lots of different things to do. Have a conversation with employees about the tasks they like as well as what else they would like to do. Also discover each person’s “limit” in terms of how many different things they’re doing.
Organizational factors:
  • Collaboration – Send a clear message that collaboration is more important than competition within departments as well as across business units, and then reward collaborative efforts.
  • Performance expectations – Clearly articulate expectations in terms of measurable quality and quantity. Then, be consistent in enforcing these expectations and transparent about exceptions to the “rules.”
  • Procedural Justice – When both performance and other expectations, such as company policies, are enforced equally, employees perceive the organization as being fair.
Relationship factors:
  • Connectedness with Colleagues – Foster an environment where employees are encouraged and given time to interact with coworkers throughout the organization. This can come in the form of committee work, cross-functional projects, and social events.
  • Connectedness with Leaders – Leaders should not only visible, but also approachable to direct reports and other employees throughout the organization. More and more, employees see accessibility to and connection with leadership as a way to build trust.