For the better part of the last 10 years, I have been a part of the evolving employee engagement conversation.
Before…most employees were engaged at work simply by having a well-paid job and doing something they relatively enjoyed. It was about meeting basic needs. Now…thanks to companies like Google that raised the standards, it’s more about self-actualization.
Before…an employee was considered stable if they worked for the same company for around five years. Now…an employee is considered stable if they work for the same company for one year.
Before…companies could get away with not managing properly; no one would really know. Now…with access to websites like Glass Door, everything is out in the open.Before…companies used to do annual surveys to see how their employees felt. Now…it’s moving towards co-creation.
Today, employee engagement is about co-creation.
And how does that mindset work?
Everybody needs to see each other as equals working for the same team. It’s no longer about managers acting superior to their employees. Managers need to treat their employees as their equals. The only difference being, managers are responsible for bringing out the best in everyone in order to reach a common goal.
You need to sit down with your employees and co-create with them. Don’t just tell them what the company goals are and the rewards they will get for achieving them. Treat your employees like individuals that you truly care about. Take them out for coffee or for lunch and really get to know them. Listen to them. Ask them questions that are meaningful such as:
What do you truly want?
What does that look like?
What about this is important to you?
Keep your people connected and help them reach their goals personally and professionally. By doing so, you gain their utmost respect and they will want to work harder to help you reach your goals.
Once you have a better understanding of what your employees want, ask them what they would do if they were in your shoes. Ask them questions such as:
What decisions would you take if you were in my shoes?
What would you like to see?
By giving employees the possibility of sharing and valuing their input, you make them feel important and you open yourself up to a whole new set of possibilities you would have never thought of on your own.
Don’t BS your employees. Don’t use them as pawns to achieve some type of corporate recognition. Remember, whatever you do comes back to you. Genuinely help your employees. Tell them the truth about how you can help them, what is really going on in the company and what you see for them there. By being truthful you gain their respect and people will be even more motivated to work for you.
Once you know what your employees truly want and how they see things, hold them accountable.
Ask them questions such as:
What will you do and when will you do it?
This gives employees not only the feeling they are heard, but that they can actually contribute and are supported towards creating change.
It’s great to treat everyone as an equal, see what they truly want, be truthful and hold them accountable, but what is key to making all of this work is continuous live communication.
It’s ideal if you can take at least 15 minutes a week to follow up on how everything is progressing. Rather than using email, it’s best to communicate face to face, via Skype or phone.
Weekly follow ups help to deal with any roadblocks as soon as they come up. If you wait longer than that to check in, it’s easier for things to go off course.
So, how about starting to co-create with your employees today?