Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.
We have explored wisdom. Now let’s explore employee skills and their connection to positive engagement for job, team and company.
What Skills Mean (definition)
Skills means application of knowledge, wisdom, and dexterity to specific elements of one’s work assignments. The transition from product economy to service economy has not lessened reliance on skills. Companies hire specific abilities that achieve profitable results. These include manual or intellectual, technical or social, mathematical or linguistic skills.
What Skills Bring (value)
Productivity. Refined skills generate employee productivity. Productivity combines effectiveness and efficiency. Effective skills application accomplishes results. Efficient skills application means least expenditure of resources in shortest time. Consider: a skilled employee produces more output and thus more value. Consider: that employee is more positively engaged for the company. Consider: company attention to ever-increasing those skills increases engagement value.
Pride. Human nature desires success. The resulting emotion is pride of success. When individuals approach a project proud of their skills, they engage more readily, more productively. Successful, those individuals relish another go at a bigger challenge. They want more opportunity to engage their skills. They are motivated to sharpen those skills for the next opportunity. Here is the dual value of skills engagement and skills improvement. That is a victorious cycle of greater success.
Profitability. The more skilled your employees, the more productive their output. The greater number and significance of opportunities to apply their skills, the more satisfied your employees. The more satisfied your employees, the greater your employee retention. The greater your retention, the more profitable your business. You might call this “empowerment”. The more employees are empowered to utilize and improve their skills, the greater profit a company is likely to experience.
How To Bring Skills On (actions)
How, then, does your organization focus on the skills component of your employees’ engagement? Here are three broad areas that cover many ways to boost engagement by boosting their skills. Keep in mind, by boosting an employee’s skills, you’re also boosting his or her engagement.
Recognition. Individuals take personal pride in what they do well. They experience more pride when what they do well is recognized. There are an infinite number of employee recognition tactics. The key here is recognizing specific skills, not just overall performance.
Suggestion: a recurrent chance for individuals to talk about their specific skill(s), how they developed them, what they’re doing to enhance them, what the skill means to them personally. This may be a constant agenda item at team meetings or a brief “interview” in regular newsletters.
Continuous Improvement. Does your company provide the learning chance for employees to improve their skills continuously? One sure way to show the company values employees and their individual skills is to make it easy for them to build those skills even greater. This may be with training, coaching, external education, professional/trade association membership, and subscriptions/libraries.
Suggestion: survey employees regularly, frequently. Offer formal and informal surveys, anonymous and identified surveys. Ask employees what information they want and need, and how they want it. Of course, be sure the survey results are treated with respect and that responses go to all employees quickly and clearly.
Added Opportunities. Invite employees to suggest more, better ways to use their skills. Increase their skills opportunities. This was called “out-of-the-box thinking,” and that’s a good name. Encourage employees to think out of the box in which their skills are normally applied. Give them the opportunity to follow that lead, to work from their productivity and their pride, and to generate greater profit potential.
One suggestion is an ongoing “suggestion box” inviting employees to suggest new, different ways to adapt and apply a specific skill. This should be supported with ample publicity and celebration.
We have looked at how business should focus on wisdom and skills as employee engagement elements. The next article will examine energies.
About the Author: Tim Wright is professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.