A great deal of information is available concerning the value of employee engagement for improving organization performance. Not as much is written on the “how-to’s” of employee engagement and the characteristics that make engagement more successful. We know from our work that employee engagement is a powerful and necessary component of organization performance improvement. We also know there are ways to create successful employee engagement that increases the likelihood of sustainability. Shown here are five tips to achieving successful employee engagement.
Tips to Achieving Successful Employee Engagement
1. Focus on the work
Employees want to know their job matters. When they have a voice in how their work is done, they are more motivated and engaged in the process. A major weakness in many employee involvement efforts is the lack of identification of important problems to solve; leaving employees feeling like their efforts don’t make a difference and management doesn’t value their input.
2. Listen to what’s really going on
If you utilize structured methodologies for capturing input, it is not difficult to find out what really happens on the front lines. Employees know the problems that prevent them from doing their jobs well. All you have to do is, first - understand what they go through to perform their jobs, second - capture the problems that prevent them from doing their jobs better, and third - listen to their wisdom on how those problems can be fixed.
3. Eliminate the Red Clouds
Red Clouds are problems and opportunities that prevent employees from doing their jobs. It is not enough to simply listen to employees. You must work with them to eliminate the problems that form barriers to their success. At Business Enterprise Mapping, we find that about 50% of all Red Clouds are quick wins, which are solvable within 90 days.
4. Provide helpful skills & tools
To fully enjoy the benefits of employee engagement, you must provide training and problem solving tools in areas such as teambuilding, process mapping, process analysis, information gathering, responsibility analysis, and process improvement. Employees retain these valuable skills for the rest of their careers.
5. Facilitate Connections
Too often we see organizations where departments never speak to one other or communication only takes place at the highest levels. These departmental silos cause barriers to successfully executing work. Process mapping is a particularly useful tool for this problem, as it tracks tasks from suppliers through to customers. Because most business processes cross organization boundaries, cross-organization teams can attack those boundaries looking for ways to overcome barriers to improvement. It’s exiting to see people with different backgrounds, who may have otherwise never met, coming together for the first time for a common purpose.
Engaging employees is a sometimes difficult but very rewarding strategy for improving an organization’s performance. The 5 tips shown here have proven to be very effective in engaging employees to improve not only their own work, but also the work of their surrounding teammates. There is no better way to uncover an organization’s most difficult problems than to engage the employees who must overcome them.
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