Wednesday, January 27, 2010

3 Keys to Creating an Engaged Workforce

Smart companies are spending more and more time on the concept of engaging their workforce and developing highly energized work teams. In some of my past articles I’ve written about the value of engaged employees and why many companies fail to take advantage of this simple concept (see Why Don’t More Companies Engage Their Employees?)

But how does one go about the process of creating an engaged workforce, especially when the workforce is currently disengaged?

There are a couple of factors involved in creating an engaged workforce including trust in the leadership of the company, an ability to utilize the special talents of the employees, and connection that exists between the employees view of life and the goals of the company.

I’ve written before that great teams are built on the foundation of great leadership and that great leadership is built on the foundation of great trust. No employee can ever be seriously engaged in their job or their company when they lack trust in the leadership. An employee that doesn’t trust their manager or executive team views every decision with a jaundiced eye. They make assumptions that every decision is made for all the wrong reasons. They make jokes about how incompetent the managers are, and look for every excuse to do as little as possible.

Many companies routinely review turnover to discover if an inordinate amount of employees are leaving from specific departments. High turnover is usually a sure clue of leadership challenges and disengaged employees. Of course, with so many companies going through downsizing it becomes more and more difficult to use turnover as the measure of a leader.

But downsizing or no downsizing, the employees know exactly who they trust and who they do not.

And just as every employee knows who they trust, they also know exactly what they are good at and what they are not good at. One of the reasons that engaged employees love their jobs is that they get to feel successful because they are doing the things that they like and are good at. Too often an employee is hired because they have a specific skill without regard to the employee's talents or preferences. Employees hired for skill are often good employees, but not great employees. They become great employees and engaged employees when they get the chance to do what they do best.

Finally, employees want to feel that their company and their company's mission is special in some way. Regardless of how mundane your product or service may seem on the surface, they are looking for a personal connection and a source of pride through their company. Whether that means they are involved in the manufacturing of life saving devices, bringing smiles to children through the toys the company sells, or creating a little creature comfort through the company's outstanding chocolate chip cookies, the employees want their job to have meaning, just like their life. It’s not always apparent on the surface, but employees are looking for a connection between their personal values and the company's products and services. Employees who make that connection are much more likely to love what they do, create a positive work environment, and have higher productivity.

Of course, there is much more to employee engagement than just these three items, but they are a start. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas as to what does, or would, engage you.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:
• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

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