After nearly a decade long recession finally drags grudgingly into the rear view mirror, every organization should be trying to improve productivity and regain their competitive edge through increased employee engagement.
At its most basic level, employee engagement is about helping your associates to participate more fully in the organization and do things differently. One basic premise is that happy people work harder and healthy people take fewer days off sick. When associates are engaged, people feel valued and their job is challenging, enjoyable and rewarding. If these conditions are present, people are more likely to feel that they are cared about and therefore more likely to contribute their entire selves to the organization’s efforts.
Evaluate the level of “Engagement”
First, determine whether your associates are already engaged and committed to the organization. Here are some questions that will help:
a) Who gets the credit for a good idea – is it the person who had the idea or is the credit snatched by their manager?
b) Do you trust your people to sort out a problem, or do you and your managers get involved every time?
c) Are you available to give advice and guidance to your staff if they need it, or are you always in meetings?
d) Do your senior managers take responsibility if things go wrong, or do they always blame others?
e) Do you say good morning to your staff, or walk straight past them?
Ask if your Organization does the following:
1. Provide leadership which transmits vision and values how each individual contributes.
2. Give their associates a voice to express their views and concerns (and of course listen to them).
3. Demonstrate a behavior which is consistent with the organization’s stated values, and this leads to trust and integrity.
4. Train their line managers to empower rather than control their staff.
The coaching relationship starts from the premise that the person you are coaching, whether it is one of your managers, a supervisor or the newest member of the team, wants to do a good job. If you assume that your associate wants to be engaged with their work and committed to the organization, then you can use coaching to help them to get there,. Start by removing any barriers to good employee engagement.
Start by setting out in clear detail exactly what you want that person to achieve, which means that you have to be clear about how their performance fits in with the organization’s vision and values. You could then go on to ask them what support they need in order to achieve that specified performance. Listen carefully to the answer. When people feel listened to they will start to trust. If you take some action based on their answer they will start to feel confident that your behavior reflects your values.
Do not confuse coaching skills with talking and very little listening. Coaching skills, like most other management skills, need to be taught and understood – they will not simply spring from common sense. So train yourself and your managers to be good coaches. This will go a long way towards improving your employee engagement.
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