Employee Engagement is not a Marriage Proposal

You meet someone you want to spend time together building a relationship. You may come to realize you want to marry this someone special in your life. You know why you want to marry this person and how this person will make your life better. Our tradition in the U.S. is the man proposes marriage to his girlfriend. He commemorates her saying “Yes” by giving her an engagement ring.

Allow me to suggest employee engagement programs have elements like a marriage proposal. Team building exercises are a fun way to nurture relationships among coworkers. Sharing your organization’s mission and vision helps employees connect with the company. Recognition and compensation programs acknowledge and commemorate your employee’s contribution to the organization’s success.

That is about as far as we can take the marriage proposal analogy. Employee engagement programs should focus on more than the softer areas of communicating the mission, team building, and recognition, and thus, it is more than a marriage proposal.

The additional items needed to build into your organization to foster employee engagement are to

  • Establish a culture that encourages interacting with employees at all levels of the organization, not just peers.
  • Create process feedback loops that enable and encourage continuous improvement.
  • Integrate mission-mindedness and problem solving into day-to-day activities.

Interaction at All Levels

  • Seek input from others, especially those that are closest to the work being done.
  • Encourage conversations with upper management without fear of retribution from a perceived misstep.
  • Look for and appreciate the contributions made by each employee.

Continuous Improvement

  • Create an environment that encourages solving problems without fear of blame for causing the problem.
  • Establish a culture that strikes a balance between perfectionism and settling for status quo.
  • Define measures of performance to judge improvement without relying on opinions./li>

Problem Solving

  • Keep in mind the purpose, mission, and goals as the problem is being identified and defined.
  • Recognize that the most likely cause of a problem is found in the process not the people.
  • Apply a structured approach to solving the problem that includes analysis of the causes and possible solutions.

What areas in nurturing employee relationships deserves more attention?
Are your employees engaged in their work? How can the work your employees do be more engaging?

Are you ready to take the next step in committing to your employees?