Daily Solutions for Creating a Culture of Engagement
Company culture is a fluid concept from top to bottom. Culture is outlined by leadership, executed by management and embraced by employees. It may be easy for C-level leaders to place the responsibility of cultivating a culture of engagement in the hands of management while they turn their attention towards high-level business affairs. Yet, mangers’ actions reflect the expectations of leaders. When leaders emphasize work culture, it becomes a priority for managers.
Engagement levels coincide with the perceived satisfaction and fulfillment that employees feel towards their position and workplace. In other words, a happy employee (in an effective environment) is an engaged employee. According to Gallup, employees’ perception of their work culture is contingent on the actions and words of leaders. It is up to leaders to establish an organizational environment that fosters engagement amongst employees.
This idea can be daunting for leaders, yet it does not have to be. As the saying goes, little hinges open big doors. Gallup discusses three daily actions that require minimal effort but make all the difference.
Getting Out on the Floor
The act of physically walking around and greeting employees can go a long way. Employees want to feel as if their presence is important to the company. When leaders are present on the floor, it communicates an appreciation for the daily stresses that employees endure.
Simply being visible to employees will exhibit accessibility and openness. In reality, the C-suite could not be successful without the effort of every individual below them. By taking the time to connect on a more personal level, it incentivizes employees to continue their hard work. Granted, there is no need to become best friends with everyone, but demonstrating an effort to understand workers as human beings is encouraging in itself.
Making appearances at various team meetings, conducting rounds through different departments, and merely showing face in community work spaces are ways to achieve visibility.
Life’s Not Fair, But Workplaces Should Be
In many, large Western companies, there is a hierarchal structure that separates each level from next with authority and power. There is nothing more frustrating to employees than the unequal distribution of treatment; in cases across levels of superiority, and among their equals.
If an individual is working tirelessly to contribute their best efforts, while someone who merely completes the bare minimum receives the same acknowledgement, it deters the former from continuing to exert their energy. What is the point? It is important to establish a set of standards and then consistently apply them across the entire company. As a leader, there is a responsibility to communicate this cadence of accountability through action and example.
As mentioned prior, the priorities of leaders become the expectations of mangers and those subsequent. Leaders set the tone for the culture of accountability on a daily basis. Acknowledge those who succeed, and reprimand those who fail to align with the company’s expectations. Staying in the loop of the daily happenings may mean simply browsing the company intranet for highlights or requesting weekly reports from department managers. In any case, accountability is a make-or-break factor in a positive work culture.
Sharing is Caring
Gallup suggests openly communicating to employees about changes and developments to avoid the natural tendency to fill in the missing gaps with pessimistic assumptions. Furthermore, leaders should not only share the what, but also the why. When employees are aware of pending company plans, and the motives behind them, they are able to understand their role in the action and how they will be affected.
Transparency creates trust and allows for the valuable input of employees. Making company-wide announcements, having open conversations with employees, holding round table meetings, etc. are positive methods for communication. Leaders should create a space where dialogue is appreciated and encouraged. After all, keeping employees informed will allow them to further gear their work towards the goals of the company.
The bottom line is that employees do not want to feel like an expendable cog in the machine. Acknowledge them, treat them fairly and let them know what is happening. Leaders hold the power to initiate a work culture that makes employees excited to show up for work every day. Small actions build in impact over time, for better or for worse. It is never too late to establish an environment that encourages people to put their best efforts forward.
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