Like it or not, your organisation along with the vast majority, is not and never will be, incentivised to take employee engagement seriously. There are a couple of reasons for this; the first being that it will take too much time and effort and the second that it’s probably a low priority compared to everything else you have to deal with. OK, so you might fiddle around at the edges and create an impression of employee engagement, but that’s about it. All in all, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to just upsize and downsize with market forces and focus all your time and investment in retaining and developing the top 20%, whilst discarding those you consider to be poor performers. That’s NOT employee engagement. It goes by various names from executive development to staff assessments.
It’s a process which is mostly subjective and hardly, if ever, objective.
Real employee engagement starts with the recognition that your workforce stands on a tightrope between being viewed as an asset or as a liability. The employee at 3M who invented Post-It Notes, might, for example, be referred to as an asset; whilst staff at British Airways being asked to take a pay holiday and pay cut, might be considered as a liability by their senior management. Every organisation faces a delicate balance in how its workforce is viewed.
The hard work is not what organisations choose to do about employee engagement. The hard work starts by recognising that every employee you hire is a potential asset. It starts with a fundamental change in organisational behavioural attitudes from those who run these organisations. If you, as a business owner or business manager, truly believe that every employee is an asset to your organisation, then that’s how you will see them and behave towards them. That change in behaviour and attitude will then reap its own reward, as employees will want to give back more than just ‘their jobsworth’.
This simple change in attitude towards your staff and colleagues, coupled with an understanding that trust, respect and recognition and appreciation is a two-way mirror. If you expect your employees to trust, respect, recognise and appreciate you for the leadership and direction that you provide, then you must pay them the same compliment by return. There’s nothing more complicated to it than that.
Getting the most out of your people is not just a case of fitting the right peg into the right hole. Shaping a round peg from a block of wood, just so that it fits snugly into a round hole discards the potential from what remains. Smart employers and business owners such as John Timpson, recognise that limitation, and ensure that the full potential of all the original material in every employee is used to maximum. They have to, because in the world of competitive business, you just can’t afford the luxury of employee potential, just waiting to be discovered.
©Charles Helliwell, Business Personality Audits, 2012