“Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity, and meaning in their job.” –Ken Blanchard
Rusty Lindquist is the founder and CEO of Life Engineering. A few years ago, he created a model of employee engagement that enumerated 16 essentials. The following list and explanations are drawn from “16 building blocks that bolster employee engagement,” by Lauren Stead. The first eight essentials were identified in Tip #759. Here are the remaining eight essentials:
- Growth– feeling like you’re gaining mastery, progressing personally or professionally.
Everyone likes the idea that they’re getting better at what they do. When careers stagnate, people begin to stall and lose interest in moving forward. Have managers challenge employees so they feel like they’re growing by providing them opportunities to improve personally and professionally.
- Meaning– finding fulfillment and purpose in what you do.
Connect people to the work they’re doing through a story. This isn’t necessarily done through the company’s objective or mission statement, and it should be more personal. Managers need to identify what matters to their team, and then connect that meaning to their work through a narrative or story.
- Value– feeling appreciated and adequately rewarded for your efforts.
Value isn’t completely tied up in compensation, since more compensation doesn’t always directly improve someone’s engagement. It also relies on rewards and recognition. Managers need to find ways to give people all three.
- Identity– knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and believing in yourself.
This building block relies on the theory of functional fixedness, the idea that people rely on their past successes to inform their next actions. If something has worked in the past, why not continue doing it? Managers need to push employees to think outside the box, consistently creating new solutions for old problems.
- Leadership– having someone who believes in, challenges, and shows you the way.
Every workplace has a leader who is capable of showing people the way. Many times, these leaders are the ones who can self-diagnose and critique themselves. These employees aren’t necessarily managers or in executive-level positions, but they are the ones people lean on when they need a guiding light. Give these people a platform.
- Relationship– having connections with people you care about.
When people are invested in each other, they don’t want to let their team down. Even when things with the company are bad, people will tough it out because they want to stay for the people they’ve built up relationships with. Foster those relationships.
- Environment– having surroundings that support and enable your efforts.
If people are living in a bad environment, their behaviors will reflect their surrounding negativity. This was evident in New York’s broken windows theory. The city had high amounts of crime. Some people wanted to bolster the criminal and justice system, and crack down on that crime. A new mayor instead invested in beautifying the environment, cleaning up the city and fixing broken windows. Amazingly, the crime was reduced in those areas. Be aware of your company’s environment and how it impacts employees.
- Renewal– finding restoration through balance and moderation.
Finally, this block of engagement is important for every employee. There may be a time when a great worker becomes disengaged and feels burned out. A short break or new challenging project may be in order to rouse spirits once more.
Which are most important to you?
How does your company compare?
May your learning be sweet.