November 8, 2015

The new keys to Engagement

If economic systems have evolved, if traditional management processes are no longer relevant, and if generational shifts happen at increasingly rapid rates, shouldn't we also reconsider employee engagement theories? What was valued by factory workers in 1890 or office employees in the 1980s bears little resemblance to today's professional environments. Workplaces are not isolated from societal changes, and as such, we must be cognizant of the new factors that can enhance employee engagement with their companies:
  • Digitalization.In a world where we've become accustomed to saving time and costs through everyday technologies, it's essential to avoid inefficient and manual techniques in the workplace. Companies that modernize and help employees work more efficiently will distinguish themselves and retain their workforce.
  • Transparent and Consistent Communication: Properly managing expectations is vital to prevent employee frustration and detachment. Trust is built by keeping promises and maintaining open communication channels. Inconsistencies in organizations, whether arising from a lack of promises or an informal culture, can lead to unprofessional behavior that damages a company's image and competitiveness.
  • Empowerment: Feeling useful and valued is critical for professional motivation. Job satisfaction and confidence in decision-making, supported by superiors, teams, and the company, create a sense of purpose. Even when mistakes occur, having support allows for learning without losing motivation or self-belief.
  • Continuous Feedback: To promote autonomy within teams, frequent guidance is necessary to accelerate learning and avoid trial-and-error processes. Tools for improving weaknesses and recognizing strengths must be provided. Fostering talent and skills among team members generates synergies and shared values.
  • Fair Compensation: In an age of instant access to information, employees no longer tolerate unfair compensation relative to their peers. Companies that apply transparent, objective criteria for compensation are better at reducing frustration and increasing engagement.
  • Future Planning with Employees: Engaged employees are those who give their best, remain loyal, and grow alongside the organization. Involving them in the vision and strategic decision-making is crucial for their commitment. Who better than those doing the work to suggest improvements?

Societies and global services are shifting toward transparent and participatory communication. The collaborative economy exemplified by companies like Uber and Airbnb reflects the trend in relationship models between individuals and organizations. Employees will seek open structures, a win-win philosophy, an environment where fear of making mistakes is absent, and a recognition that understanding their strengths and weaknesses is the key to improving productivity and sustainability.