An engaged Employee is an individual who is enthusiastically and completely immersed in their work. A common trait observed in engaged employees is that they care about the future of their respective organisations and are more than willing to put in additional efforts to see their organisation succeed. Academics and practitioners in the present day scenario are in complete agreement to the fact that employees, who are engaged, are individuals who share an emotional connection to the organisation and are cognitively vigilant. It’s very important for executives to be concerned regarding the level of employee engagement at the workplace.
A Global Workforce survey involving around 85,000 people was carried out by Towers Perrin in 2005. These individuals were full-time employees working for various large and midsized firms. The findings of this survey were disturbing, as it showed that only 14% of employees across the world were actively engaged in their job. The survey further indicated that on a country to country basis, the percentage of engaged and disengaged individuals considerably varied from being highly engaged, to moderately engaged, and being actively disengaged. For instance, Brazil and Mexico displayed the highest percentage of engaged employees, while Italy and Japan displayed the largest percentage of disengaged employees.
It’s a fact that employees who are engaged are much more productive than their disengaged colleagues. So what proactive steps do leaders need to take to increase the level of employee engagement in their organizations? Researchers from the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business simplify what managers can do to increase their employee’s engagement into what they termed “The 10 C’s of Employee Engagement”.
The 10 Cs of Employee Engagement for Leaders
- Connect: Leaders need to project that they value the employees of their respective organisations. To establish an emotional connect with the employees, leaders must consider introducing employee-focused initiatives such as profit sharing and introducing work-life balance initiatives in the organisation. Employee engagement is a direct reflection of the feelings of employees in an organisation about their relationship with their leaders. Employees tend to observe whether the leaders and their organisation actually walk the talk.
- Career: Leaders should strive to provide meaningful and challenging work scenarios with ample opportunities for growth for the career growth of their employees. Leaders need to ensure that they offer opportunities for job rotation for their top talents, assign such goals which can be stretched to employees, hold employees accountable for their progress, and also ensure if the jobs are enriched regarding responsibilities. Good leaders are ones who constantly challenge their employees while at the same time instilling the confidence in them so that these challenges can be met. If leaders do not provide people with the knowledge or the tools to succeed, it is certainly unethical and demotivating for employees. This eventually leads to frustration, stress, and disengagement fro employees.
- Clarity: It is imperative that leaders need to communicate with their employees with a clear vision. Employees are keen to comprehend the vision of their leaders for the organisation and the goals that their leaders decide for the department, team, or unit. In other words, it’s important that employees clearly comprehend the organisational goals, their significance, and how these goals can be accomplished in the best possible manner. When this clarity regarding understanding is achieved, the employees can successfully contribute towards the success of the organisation. One of the most crucial problems in American business is sheer ignorance on the part of the employees as to how the business functions. Hence it is important for leaders to understand that leaders use information not to intimidate employees, or to manipulate and control them. Leaders need to use the information to teach their employees how to function together as a cohesive unit to achieve common goals.
- Communicate: Leaders should be able to clearly communicate their expectations from them and also provide timely feedback as to how they are functioning in the organisation. Good leaders are known for laying down processes and procedures that help the employees to master important tasks and thereby help in achieving their goals. In fact, a good leader is one who closely works with his employees on a day to day basis to improve their skills and help them achieve small wins that will help a team or an organisation to give their best.
- Congratulate: It is equally important for exceptional leaders to give due recognition to their employees, and not just once, but consistently. Leaders need to ensure that they should provide not only immediate feedback when the performance of an employee is poor, but also provide immediate recognition when an employee performs exceedingly well too.
- Contribute: It is common for employees to be keen to know that their input holds importance and that they too can actively contribute towards the success of the organisation. Leaders need to understand that when an employee comprehends the correlation between his or her work and the strategic objectives of the organisation, it is bound to have a positive impact on their job performance. Also, the attitude of an employee towards his or her job has a significant impact regarding loyalty and customer service. Last but not the least, when the attitude of employees improves, it also leads to an improvement in their job-related behaviour. Good leaders are those who can help their employees see and feel how they are contributing towards the overall success of the organisation.
- Control: It holds a lot of significance for employees when they have control over the pace and flow of their jobs. It’s up to leaders to create opportunities for exercising authority by their employees. When employees are given some amount of flexibility based on their personal needs or included in the decision-making process, it creates a feeling of trust within the employees, and it also leads to reduced level of stress in them. Apart from this, it also helps in creating a culture where employees will want to take up ownership of their issues and look for solutions.
- Collaborate: Studies have proved that when employees work in teams collaboratively and have the trust of their colleagues, they always outperform teams and individuals which fall short in the same. Great leaders need to create a working environment that promotes trust and collaboration. Research supports the fact that when employees of an organisation cared for by their peers, it predicts a healthy degree of employee engagement.
- Credibility: Leaders of organisations should always strive to maintain the reputation of the company and project very high ethical standards. Employees too want to be proud of their performance, their jobs, and of course their organisation.
- Confidence: Great leaders help in generating confidence in an organisation by being a classic example of high ethical and performance standards. Leaders need to be actively involved in identifying the level of employee engagement in their organisation, figure out the factors behind any lack of employee engagement, and strive to do away with all such reasons, and put into practice behavioural strategies that will help to facilitate complete employee engagement. However, this is not a one-time effort, but an ongoing one.
Employee engagement is somewhat challenging to achieve, and if it’s is not sustained by the leaders of an organisation, it can easily decay over time.
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