Employee engagement falls on the shoulders of every manager and employee – Joint responsibility for employee engagement
Based on the article “Who is responsible for employee engagement” there have been a lot of discussion in various LinkedIn groups and on Google+. The many responses included rich and varied perspectives and opinions on employee engagement, its meaning and importance.
Below several distinctive views, illustrated by direct quotes from the LinkedIn and Google+ discussion threads – unfortunately it was not possible to acknowledge everyone who made helpful contribution:
DeBorah S. Walker
Also agree that engagement responsibility lies on the shoulders of both leaders and employees; however, it should be fostered more by the leaders, and that is where the employee empowerment will start, and my experience has shown me, that the burden of the cultural tone is set from the top …. and must be constant.
I’m more of the mind that employee engagement is a responsibility that leaders should own, in addition to building a culture that fosters openness, empowerment, recognition, etc. The employees AND leaders are responsible for maintaining that culture and keeping it a healthy and productive. It’s a small distinction, but an important one. In my work around employee engagement, leaders and employees seem to favor this approach as well.
So …… employees should be fully responsible for their controllables, what they bring to work, their attitude (100%). Research shows that 80% of results are tied to the systems that are in place, the culture, rewards, structure etc … employees operate inside the system that the leaders establish. If the system is a mismatch for the employee, the employee is fully accountable for choosing to continue to be there or leave. Leaders should disproportionately care because they establish the system that enables engagement (or not) and clearly they have employees because they need them! I get concerned when leaders spend any time on the problem being the “employee” versus being totally dedicated to understanding what they’ve designed, the system, because they already have the power position to deal with any employee based issues ……
Dr. Steven S. Merrill
Dr. Dawn Garrett, excellent point. We, as employers, invite men and women to work with us within the culture and system we have set up. Even the best and brightest men’s and women’s enthusiasm will slowly be snuffed out because of a poor environment (systems, policies, leaders, etc.). Each party has a responsibility, but the employer is the majority shareholder.
Colin T. McLetchie
If you view Employee Engagement and Performance Management from a cultural way of being perspective – they are both driven by the same thing: conversations. Leaders essentially get paid to have a lot of really powerful conversations including these “engagement” conversations. One of the tactics I recommend is the “stay interview” which is a dialogue where a leader inquires about what’s working, what could be shifted, commits to some actions, and then asks for the employee’s commitment to talk with the leader if the employee starts to feel “itchy to explore other opportunities” or starts getting calls that sound intriguing. Leaders who are able to partner with their employees through these explorations can be more prepared if someone decides to depart and can often stay in the dialogue to turn someone’s energy back toward the organization if they serve as a gracious and supportive mentor.
Sir John Harvey-Jones once said that if an organization was not changing it was dying. This means that to continue to succeed an organization is in a constant state of change. Change requires the engagement of its employees. Whilst those at the top are responsible for direction, culture and attitude, line management is responsible for getting to know the employees that they manage and to understand what actually motivates them. Not every employee is going to be motivated in the same way, and in larger organizations those at the top are unlikely to know each employee well enough to know how their employees should be managed. It is unlikely that one ‘theory’ will fit all.
Employee engagement needs to stop being something that’s ‘done’ and recognized that it’s something that is ‘got’ from doing other things. I’m not sure how you could expect employees to ‘engage themselves’ if they don’t feel listened to, are poorly communicated with and are managed by bad leaders. Get the other stuff right and employee engagement, with all its benefits, happens
Employee engagement lies in the hands of one person, and one person only, their direct leader. I’ve never known any human being that doesn’t give their all to someone who genuinely cares about them (shown through knowing them on a personal level and developing them), reminds them how their work makes the lives of someone direct to them better, and gives them a very clear and practical way to measure their performance. That may sound “soft”, but I bet if you think back to a time in your career that you remember being most engaged you’ll find these things were present in your job.
A good leader will motivate and engage even disinterested employees. I think, people are always motivated but their leaders bring them to being demotivated and disengaged. Think about school. Why some teachers get their pupils intetested in what they teach and others don’t?
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