What Does Employee Engagement Mean, Anyway?
Employee Engagement is a “not-so-new” trend in HR. Everywhere you turn, there is a new study, white paper, article, or blog post on employee engagement. Some of the research shows employee engagement is up and some shows employee engagement is down. Most of the information does neither. The majority of the information provides ways to improve employee engagement.
After working in HR for years and now focusing on Organizational Development (OD), I am just as concerned about employee engagement as the next HR or OD professional. Employee engagement has been discussed, studied, and written about so much, that many people inside and outside of HR don’t know what to believe. For me, employee engagement comes down to this, treat people the way you want to be treated.
If you want grace extended to you in a particular situation then extend some grace. If you would want someone to be understanding then be understanding. Extend to everyone else what you would want someone to do for you. Treat people like human beings from the initial interview to the exit interview.
When people are treated decently, they respond in a positive manner. Happy employees make for productive employees. When people like what they do for a living, they come to work excited. When people work in a positive environment, they come to work excited. When people like what they do for a living and work in a positive environment, they become engaged. They are concerned about their coworkers, supervisor, and the company they work for.
Managers are responsible for creating a healthy work environment that will have a positive effect on their employees. Working in a healthy environment will either enhance a good experience or soothe a bad one. Regardless of whether the employee loves or hates their job it has a positive impact.
Treating people like human beings and creating a healthy work environment are not enough. Employees need to enjoy their work. Gen Yer’s are starting businesses left and right. They understand that in order to enjoy going to work, you have to love what you do.
Engaged employees are productive employees. Disengaged employees are unproductive employees. Which group do you want working for you? Both groups directly affect the bottom line. Do you want to end up in the red or black? People can only love what they do when you hire people that have a passion for the job you are filling. Before you make your next hire, remember the correlation between the engagement level of employees and the bottom line.
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