Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is it time to re-engage in your workplace?

Description of the Six Universal Engagement Drivers.

Some leaders sit behind closed doors in large corner offices, their feet on their desks, while they drink coffee from thousand dollar espresso machines. Other leaders "are out in front of employees and customers, talking openly and honestly." Which type of leader would you prefer to work for?

In an amazing book by Leigh Branham, SPHR, and Mark Hirschfeld, entitled, Re-Engage: How America's Best Places to Work Inspire Extra Effort in Extraordinary Times, the answers are just as obvious. The authors profiled companies who understand how to engage their employees. "When the going gets tough, the economy gets shaky – the tough (employees) work harder to maintain a great place to work. They don’t set aside core principles in turbulent times – they don’t drop the aircraft in order to fly the microphone."

Employee engagement can be defined as "a heightened emotional and intellectual connection that an employee has for his or her job, organization, manager, or coworkers that, in turn, influences him or her to apply additional discretionary effort to his/her work." It can also be defined as "the extent to which employees commit to something or someone in their organization and how hard they work and how long they stay as a result of that commitment."

Engaged employees can be described by the following behaviors:
  • They give more effort (not because they have to, but because they want to).
  • They consistently exceed expectations – they do more than what is minimally expected.
  • They take more responsibility for and ownership of the organization’s interests and objectives.
  • They receive better customer service ratings.
  • They voice more ideas for ways to improve and innovate.
  • They promote and model teamwork.
  • They volunteer more for extra assignments and duties.
  • They anticipate and adapt better to change, and they facilitate change.
  • They persist at difficult work over time.
  • They speak well of the organization to their friends and family.
  • They are more likely to stay employed with the organization.

The secret is the employee engagement comes from both the employee and the employer. In fact, it is created and sustained by both – a genuine two-way street. The acts of hiring, nurturing, training, evaluating, coaching, etc., are all activities that impact both the employee and the employer. Both parties can lose, and both can win – depending on how both react, behave, and interact. The result is either an engaged workplace, or a toxic area full of landmines.

Branham and Hirschfeld discovered six universal engagement drivers:
  • Caring, competent, and engaging senior leaders.
  • Effective managers who keep employees aligned and engaged.
  • Effective teamwork at all levels.
  • Job enrichment and professional growth.
  • Valuing employee contributions.
  • Concern for employee well-being.

The choice is yours. Do you want an engaged workforce? If your answer is yes, in exchange for good work, remember that as an employer, "you have made a commitment to provide each employee with an engaging employment experience."

For more details, visit:

To take the Employee Engagement Universal Driver survey, click here:

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