When you think of employee engagement as practiced by many hiring leaders and organizations, does your mind flash to zombie movies? Yes? Well, you’re not alone. It turns out many managers can turn their employees into the walking dead — not through malice aforethought, but simply by forgetting that employees need to feel engaged and recognized, part of a team of contributors whose talents truly make a difference. By inspiring and engaging, smart leaders create sticky employees.
Some leaders try to slap a Band-Aid on the problem by having lots of staff meetings. Yawn. Invariably, nothing is settled or resolved at these meetings; in fact, meetings upon meetings are a major cause of anxiety and uncertainty in the workplace. Pair uncertainty with the sort of stumbling attempts most companies make to engage with employees (e.g., Thirsty Thursday) and you’ve not only created an employee engagement disaster; you’ve also seriously torpedoed any retention plan you were considering. Change can only occur through behaviors and a willingness to admit there may be a better way to engage with your employees, a way that seems authentic because it is authentic.
Turning a blind eye to employee engagement is never a good plan, and that is why it’s the topic for this week’s TalentCulture #TChat. Employee engagement is getting lots of attention as the economy makes tentative moves to improvement and people begin to look for the next job, the one where their contributions will be recognized and rewarded. But if you are a manager or a workplace brand, you can’t afford to wait. The time to act is now. Figure out engagement now — both IRL (in real life) and via social media channels, before your talent heads for the door. We do not want that.
Organizations such as Gallup can help you figure out an employee engagement approach (with a neat ROI model to keep everyone on the same page). Technology solutions such as UpMo are designed for large (4,000+) workplaces to help employees keep a high internal profile, improving likelihood of engagement in interesting initiatives. And there are others, too. But before you turn to technology to solve any problem, think about the role of leaders in helping employees feel appreciated and engaged. Consider an audit. Avoid the dreaded once-a-year employee survey, and do small group meetings. Whatever it takes, it’s time to put employee engagement at the top of the to-do list.
Hop on your favorite Twitter channel to share your thoughts this Wednesday, March 21, at 7-8 pm ET (6-7 CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are). Kevin Grossman will be down under this week to deliver the keynote at the Recruiters’ Hub Conference in Sydney, Australia, but the rest of the gang will be here. Joining me will be Maren Hogan as moderator, as well as Sean Charles, Kyle Lagunas, Brent Skinner and Salima Nathoo. Following are the questions that will kick off our discussion: