Some of you may know that I am participating as a judge for the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards for the 3rd time. It’s been a lot of fun doing it and reading about how organizations are creatively enabling their employees to thrive while being highly engaged. It’s truly awesome to see because I have always believed that employee engagement is the key driver of business success, and where HR should be playing a lead role.
I spent this past week evaluating the submissions, which as a collective group, were fantastic. Their are many great organizations out there and they will definitely be on display at the awards gala in New Orleans. As in the past 2 occasions of being a judge, the idea mill starts to turn in my head with each submission that I read.
Employee engagement has been a hot topic for awhile, and rightfully so. To me it’s the core of what organizations need to do because there’s such a strong connection to highly engaged workforces and strong business success. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of why, how, when, where, etc… However, I am going to pick on one major thing. That thing is the relationship between how an employee feels with how their manager gives a $#&@. More subtly put, does the manager actually care about the employee?
It’s not rocket science. If you’re unappreciated for what you do and your efforts, what do you think your natural reaction will be? Perhaps you might feel demoralized, sad, angry, pissed off, disappointed, unappreciated, disengaged, and the list goes on. This has nothing to do with the employee doing or not doing his/her job. It’s about how the employee feels, which we know plays a huge role in the amount of discretionary effort the employee is willing to exert. I know first-hand that each person responds to how they are treated by their manager differently. After all each human being on the face of this planet is different from one another. So, which some people may have the unique ability to thrive regardless of what their manager does or does not do, many are unable to do so.
Sure managers have to be great communicators, lead by example, provide clear direction, reward and recognize consistently, and the many other things that make great leaders great leaders. But, I would argue all of that stuff is meaningless if the manager doesn’t genuinely care about the employee and everything they do, think, believe and desire. Think about it. Why on earth would your employee put forth the extra effort if they knew you didn’t care? They’re not going to. Simple as that. Instead of spending a couple hours after their kids are asleep to rework a section of a critical deliverable they will do something else non-work related. You get the idea.
So, the next time you wrack your brains about the employee engagement concept and how it’s going in your organization, ask yourself the question first. Do you genuinely care about your employees? Do you actually give a $&%@? If you don’t then fix it first before you do anything else. You’ll be happy you did.