- Getting engagement and culture right in the workplace is quite a tricky thing to do. The first step is to look at what employee engagement actually means…
I however wholeheartedly disagree. I think employee engagement is more than just a management fad and if correctly understood can be one of the major contributing factors that leads to successful SMEs.
Sometimes the best way of describing something is to start with what it is not. Employee engagement is not the same thing as job satisfaction, somebody may be happy in their current job and conditions but that does NOT mean that they are engaged!
The Institute of Employment Studies describes engagement as:
‘A positive attitude held by the employee towards the organisation and its values. An engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organisation.’
Therefore an engaged employee is likely to strive for excellence and take on an ambassadorial role for your organisation. This will have clear quantifiable benefits for your performance and productivity.
So now we know that, how is this useful in practice? Well this definition suggests that rather than implementing short term initiatives to improve engagement, organisations must take a look at the ongoing needs of their employees. We must focus on how to meet the more altruistic human needs of feeling connected to the core purpose of the organisation, being recognised and involved in decision making processes and ultimately being an important part of something bigger.
Now in the voluntary sector we inevitably have an advantage as most employees who work for charities do so because they passionately believe in the cause and wish to help their organisation achieve its objectives! Let’s not take this for granted but build on it, with further hard times for the sector on the way, ensure that you continue to promote an open, honest management style and a culture of mutual trust and respect.