Are you a happy person every morning when you have to go to work? Do you have that winner’s feel and just can’t wait to rock your job, or are you going there like you’d go to a slaughterhouse to be sacrificed? Maybe we exaggerate a little, as many people go to their jobs like they go to their jobs, not feeling like Hollywood celebrities, but not totally hating the air they breathe in that office. We have to work, don’t we, like it or not. We have to do the best we can and even get a raise or a promotion, be happy if we work in a friendly environment and be proud to have made good friends among colleagues. So are you a satisfied employee? Maybe you are even a happy one. But do you qualify for employee engagement? Does your name sit on your manager’s secret list of employees that need to be retained and strategically kept even more engaged?
What are engaged employees?
Well, if you listen to Forbes experts, they are not only the satisfied employees who check in their Christmas bonus checks and break the door on their way out to forget everything for some days. They are not even the happy employees who are willing to stand for their company in times of good or bad, just because the company turned casual Friday into casual all week. They are not even the false – loyal proselytes who’d strangle anybody saying bad things about the company and who are clanged to their jobs like addicts only because they have nowhere else to go. You are an engaged employee if and only if you are “committed to your organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, and are able at the same time to enhance your own sense of well-being.”
What does a company do to engage its employees?
If this answer would be that simple, everybody would do it and many experts would be currently unemployed. However, they are more productive than ever in their efforts to explain companies and managers that people are different, they need different things and just paying them well and hosting parties and team – buildings a few times a year doesn’t mean engagement. In truth, it is not an unidirectional relationship. It’s not some magic some CEO’ do and suddenly, all their employees are engaged, committed, loyal, respectful, willing to earn less and work more, available for overtime and giving 200% of their talents to the company. It’s a vicious circle actually, a continuous process that takes place between the managers and their employees.
Maybe the best way to describe this process is this: “attitudes, behaviors and outcomes – are part of the engagement story. There is a virtuous circle when the pre-conditions of engagement are met when these three aspects of engagement trigger and reinforce one another”.
The Holy Trinity of Engagement
There is not only one way in which a company manages to engage and thus retain its employees. There are success stories quite popular among the specialists and a famous one is Netflix’s strategy to engage its employees, or Google’s own employee engagement approach, which offered people what people praise more in this life, and was not money: it was freedom, time and respect, thus promoting self – discipline, self-responsibility, choice and true commitment.
What are you missing from employee engagement?
As we said, this is not a magic trick belonging to companies, but a process that has to also find the right people to engage. If you are working solely for the money and nothing that happens in that company doesn’t move you as a human and doesn’t address your attitudes, behaviors and even feelings to influence your outcomes, you may not feel the real engagement strategies that are at work there. Look around you and see what is missing for you to feel truly engaged, if you so desire. Don’t just look at your bank account or the number of days off you can get. Look at it like you’d look at a personal relationship: do you want to be there? Do you want to exchange vows?