What makes a poor job so difficult to bear? People typically attribute it to the income, although even the most well-paid jobs can be as dreary as dishwater. Disengagement is the actual killer. Few things compare to the monotony of a workday that consists of mechanically clocking in, counting down the minutes, and waiting for the next paycheck to clear.
But this isn’t only an issue for employees who are bored; it’s also bad for company. You need your employees to be switched on, eager, and committed if you want your business to succeed in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven environment.
However, there is a dilemma, as authors Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey explain in Build It. Too many businesses talk about having an engaged and productive workforce but don’t actually do anything to accomplish it. They continue to deceive their employees, treat them as enemies, and assign them to drab occupations with no autonomy or excitement.
This must change. They lay out the blueprints for the Engagement BridgeTM — a radical new way of thinking about management, HR, employee satisfaction, and getting the most out of your firm – in this manifesto for a new future of work.
Have you ever worked a job where the only thing that mattered was the money? Maybe you got lucky and had a job that you couldn’t wait to get to every morning? The distinction between a disengaged and an engaged employee is this.
So, how do you define engagement? The first thing to keep in mind is that it is not the same as happiness. A happy employee could be a result of a variety of factors. Great income, a lovely office, and little responsibilities add up to a relatively comfortable job, but it doesn’t guarantee that someone will enjoy their work.
Three characteristics define a truly engaged employee. First and foremost, they comprehend and believe in the direction in which a company is heading. Second, they can see how their contribution aids in the achievement of that goal. Finally, they actually care about their company’s success.
It’s easy to see why interaction is so crucial! Businesses become more resilient and innovative as a result of it. This is due to the fact that engaged employees make better decisions. After all, they are aware of their company’s objectives and want to help them achieve them.
As the world evolves, so does the importance of engagement. Today’s technical advancements are amazing. Radio took 38 years to achieve 50 million listeners in the early twentieth century. Facebook did it in a year, whereas Angry Birds only took 35 days!
Companies need committed, flexible personnel who are striving for success if they are to keep up. Consider the once-dominant Blockbuster empire as an example of a corporation that failed to do this. It was unable to respond to the growing popularity of online streaming. It’s now little more than a phantom of its former existence.
That brings us to the million-dollar question: how can you create employee engagement? Elliott and Corey’s Engagement Bridge(TM) approach is based on a decade of study involving 2,000 companies. It’s specifically designed to assist you in creating a more engaged and productive staff.
Seven “beams” and three supporting “rocks” make up the bridge’s ten different components. To make a working bridge, you don’t need all ten pieces, although the strongest structures need all ten. Let’s take a look at the beams first. These can be further divided into four subcategories. The first is to communicate openly and honestly. This entails fostering a sense of mutual trust between employees and the company for which they work.
The second is a well-defined mission, purpose, and values. This is why your business – and, by extension, your workers – do what they do. The third component consists of two intertwined elements: leadership and management. So, what’s the difference between the two? Consider this: leadership is what you say, whereas management is what you do. Last but not least, there’s job design, training, and recognition. Learning and recognition are incorporated into the best-designed employment.
The boulders that support the bridge are next. These alone will not produce a sense of involvement, but engagement developed without them will not be sustainable. The first component is compensation and benefits. Money is important, but not in the sense you may believe. The workplace comes next. That refers not only to how an office looks, but also to how it impacts how employees move around and operate in it.
The fourth pillar of support is well-being. You must pay attention to your employees’ personal health if you want them to reach their full potential. This encompasses their physical and mental well-being, as well as their work-life balance and financial stability.
All of the companies studied by the authors made great progress in one area: transparency and honesty. It’s critical to get this first beam in place if you want to have a productive working environment. That’s because the easiest approach to acquire people’s trust is to be honest with them.
Understanding how common lying and mistrust are in many business processes is an excellent place to start. Take, for example, “interview abilities.” As a potential employee, you present a version of yourself that has been meticulously crafted for the sole purpose of obtaining employment. Consider legal departments stuffing terms and subclauses into rules and contracts that appear to be meant to trip people up because they’re afraid of being sued.
All of these factors contribute to a lack of trust between businesses and their employees. The further down the ladder you go, the more obvious this becomes. While 64 percent of CEOs trust their companies, only 51 percent of managers and 48 percent of average employees do, according to a 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer survey.
So, what’s the answer? You can begin to create trust by being more transparent and honest. Take, for example, the social media startup Buffer. It makes public the wages of its employees as well as the rationale behind their pay grades. It also makes its pricing models and revenue information public. As a result, everyone is clear about their position. As a result, the company is a viable option. Applications to join Buffer increased by 50% after they adopted their new transparency policy.
Another key component is communication frequency. Keeping the lines of communication open at all times keeps employees informed and makes them feel engaged and valued. However, communication must be genuine. It’s just as important how you speak to people as what you say. It’s critical to be honest and clear about the logic behind decisions, whether it’s a policy statement or a review.
Assume you’re in charge of writing an obituary for your company. What do you want to be remembered for? What was most important to it, and what was your company’s goal? The second beam: your purpose, mission, and values – is made up of the responses to these questions.
Clearly, defining them increases staff productivity. So, where should you begin? Consider it this way: Your mission is what you do, your purpose is why you do it, and your values are how you do it. To put it another way, what is your primary objective? What is your motivation for achieving that goal? And how are you going to go about it?
Long-term health benefits from having a firm sense of purpose. Teachers who associated with their employment were considerably more likely to avoid stress and burnout, according to Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton Business School. Telemarketers, on the other hand, were four times more successful when they set a specific goal for themselves.
But defining your purpose, vision, and values isn’t enough; you also need to communicate them. When it comes to identifying your values, your workers are a fantastic place to start. Inquire about the company’s values. Getting feedback from the folks who work there every day can help you understand what matters to them. That’s a solid foundation for building a great corporate culture.
The difference between leadership and management is that leadership is what you say and management is what you do. They’re both critical components of the model, but they must be properly aligned if a sturdy bridge is to be built. So, how do you put them together? As a result, you must ensure that management is aligned with the company’s values. This is critical for employee retention.
After all, managers have the greatest impact on a company’s success. They’re in charge of hiring and firing, as well as the day-to-day operations, promotions, and development. Despite this, many executives fail to live according to the company’s carefully crafted principles. As a result, they frequently fail to create the types of situations that encourage people to accomplish their best work.
Take one of the writers’ personal experiences as an example. Elliott recalls elements in his contract that were in direct opposition to the company’s stated ideals. Despite all of the talk about being human and trusting people, the contract prevented employees from working for competitors and withheld benefits during the probationary term. Employees are confused and irritated when proclaimed values and real policy are out of sync. They’ve been promised one thing and given something quite else!
To engage management, a different approach is required. It develops HR policies that are beneficial to employees and reflect the company’s mission, vision, and values. It also works. The company’s performance has improved across the board, and Harvard Business School utilizes it as a case study for its MBA program.
However, you do not need to create a completely new review system. Asking employees to evaluate their contracts and business regulations and talk about what makes them uncomfortable is a simple and effective practical step that every firm can take. After that, you can start modifying the elements that can be lawfully changed and clarifying the terminology.
In the workplace, things have changed. A boss used to be a boss, and his word was final. Employees now have a far more significant voice. Policies that are implemented from the top down might be rejected from the bottom up. The emergence of services like Glassdoor, which allow employees to anonymously assess their employers, reflects this shift in attitudes. Individuals are increasingly using these sites – Glassdoor is used by about 41 million people every month!
As a result, the third and fourth pillars, leadership and management, are more critical than ever. When employees respect and trust their leaders, they are much more likely to be adaptable and implement changes.
Halfords, a British leisure and automotive accessories company, has devised a clever technique to aid in this endeavor. The organization created a leadership paradigm that guides how it runs its business and develops its leaders. They go so far as to create a “leadership index” for each leader depending on how their employees see them.
When you know what your people think of your leadership, you’ve already won half the battle. You can start taking actions to modify things once you know what’s being regarded as an issue. Over the last five years, Halfords’ model has helped increase sales by 13%!
However, successful leadership entails more than just making solid decisions that take employees into account. Involving people in the decision-making process is just as crucial. Taking the time to work out objectives and solutions with the people who will be responsible for putting them into action may seem obvious, but a large number of businesses fail to do so!
That is an issue. They are missing out on an opportunity to acquire useful information and engage their employees by neglecting this crucial stage. Adam Smith, an economist, developed the production line concept in the eighteenth century. Employees, he believed, should be treated more like different components in a larger machine than artisans working on a single project from start to finish. However, as a result of this specialization, people lost interest in their employment. It didn’t matter, Smith said, because money would always supply a solid incentive.
The majority of occupations in today’s world are still based on this obsolete concept. Efficiency continues to be favored over taking delight in one’s work. That’s a mistake because it ignores the Engagement Bridge’s fifth beam: job design. Jobs that are well-designed and have a high level of involvement are tough, but they also allow the job holder control. They are enthralled by the task, and the control provides autonomy and self-determination to the workers.
In many businesses, the difficulty is that people with the power to improve job satisfaction don’t view it as a problem. After all, their jobs are complicated and all about taking command! As a result, managers and HR personnel occasionally fail to empathize with other employees. When this happens, the most obvious source of employee disengagement – poor job design – remains unnoticed.
So, what makes a work well-designed? Starting with freedom and responsibility is the greatest place to start. Employees must believe that they have the freedom to fail as well as succeed. HubSpot is a software marketer. They realized that shrinking team sizes can make a big effect. Their product teams now consist of only three people. That’s a terrific technique to give staff more autonomy while also speeding up communication. What is the unintended consequence? Much increased levels of engagement!
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