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Understanding the drivers of employee engagement

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 — August 18th, 2019

Understanding the drivers of employee engagement

Keeping your employees engaged in an ever-changing, ever-expanding workplace can feel like quite the task at times. As is common in both business and life, occasionally interests change, minds wander, and passions become routine. Even though it may seem like an impossible ask, what it really boils down to is understanding the basics of what motivates your team as individuals – even if that changes from time to time. In the spirit of sharing, here are six combined drivers of employee engagement to stir you in the right direction.

Purpose and Meaning

We're living in an age where simply knowing that we fulfill a function within an organization, and that said organization exists to make money, isn't enough to keep us happy in the long term. Now more than ever employees want to feel like they matter, like what they're doing has a purpose beyond a set of routine tasks and earning a paycheck.

This is where your company's core values come into play. Emphasizing your values and mission statement, making it a part of your employees’ daily lives, is the key to energizing performance and giving your team something to work for, rather than someone. A clear and strong message leads to a strong and focused work ethic, creating an environment where employees become followers rather than simply 'workers'.

Attracting talent isn't just a case of flaunting one's mission statement, either, and according to a recent Forbes article, “the goal now is to create jobs that are not just satisfying, but meaningful.” It's here that we hit on our second theme: meaning.

Purpose and meaning are, for the most part, inexplicably entwined when addressing issues of employee engagement, but if the purpose can be broadly defined as a set of principles that your employees can get behind, then meaning is the why to the former what. In short: meaning is why we do what we do.

With this in mind, the same Forbes article notes that business is on the cusp of a paradigm shift: organizations will be developing roles and structures based on the focal point of the employee, and not the employer. If implemented correctly, this may go some way towards instilling a sense of purpose in our employees.

Role Clarity and Autonomy

Making sure that your employees are aware of not only their own roles and responsibilities but how those roles fit into the larger picture, is essential if you want your employees to be switched on and engaged. Ensure a through-line is established between their roles and how these roles affect the company on a day-to-day basis, including how said roles tie into the essential function of the business as a whole.

This is a vital step towards creating an engaging work environment where your employees feel connected to the business. This sense of clarity and structure goes hand-in-hand with the next item on our list: autonomy.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, you want to feel like what you do matters. That you have agency. That you're able to act in a meaningful way in order to effect an outcome. The same goes for your employees, every day of their lives.

Employee engagement is reliant upon your team member's feeling that whatever the task, they have the capacity to effect change. In order to achieve this, employee views should be listened to and, where appropriate, acted upon in an engaging, inclusive way, empowering your employees to make decisions over their work and working practices.

Authenticity and Fairness

Authenticity, in this sense, refers to the management and how genuine you come across in your role as a communicator. What it really boils down to is trust, and not only communicating information essential to your employees’ specific roles but also keeping them in the loop with news and developments that affect the business as a whole, both inside and outside of their immediate roles.

A further Forbes article suggests that management, business leaders, and CEOs must make themselves both “visible and available”, and operate in an approachable and fair manner to all employees across the board, regardless of the pay scale.

Keeping your employees engaged can be a challenge, but it doesn't have to be a chore. Treating your team in a respectful and transparent way, assigning meaningful and clear job roles with a healthy, two-way communication process is a sure-fire way to keep staff turnover low and motivation high. We're rapidly approaching an age where employees are seeking both meaning and autonomy across the board. If we want to retain our talent in today's landscape, employing the above rules of engagement is a great way to start.

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