Making Employee Engagement Sticky

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Interacting with employees via your annual employee survey, your quarterly town hall, company picnic, or annual recognition are all extremely important components to fostering an engaged workforce. But we see these more as employee events or tactical opportunities for engagement. As an overall engagement strategy, you need to transform your business and build an engaged employee experience. That is, to really make employee engagement stick — i.e., sustained engagement– you have to stop thinking in terms of individual employee events and start thinking in terms of interactions between the employee and the organization that build a relationship over time.

That’s why we love this blog post by Derek Irvine, Vice President, Client Strategy & Consulting Services, at Globoforce, and author of Recognize This! blog. Derek identifies three key points for building sustainable engagement and the importance of ensuring employees have what they need to do good work in an environment that is conducive to doing so.

Yesterday I wrote about the findings of multiple recent global employee engagement research reports, including Towers Watson’s latest Global Workforce Study. Today, I want to look more closely at Towers Watson’s new idea of “Sustainable Employee Engagement.”

I’ve written about this idea before, but in summary, here is a graphic from the Towers Watson report explaining Sustainable Engagement:

There are three key points here to understanding sustainable engagement:

1)      Engagement is not satisfaction or happiness at work. Employees can be quite satisfied with their work and happy to come in every day because the love the Starbucks in the café or spending time with their friends at work. That doesn’t mean they’re truly engaged – willing to give additional discretionary effort (above and beyond job specs) because they want to.

2)      Sustained engagement requires you change the game. You cannot continue to do the same things ad nauseum and expect continued strong results. What engages people today will change as the people themselves and their work also change. That’s the key part of the “enablement” portion of the sustained engagement equation. Are you continuing to give your employees what they need so they want to deliver the discretionary effort you need?

3)      Energy matters – and so does attitude. Well-being, a key component of Towers Watson’s definition of “energy,” is another topic I’ve written on before that is too easily discounted. Do you want to come to work and do your best in a miserable environment of grumpy, mean or even abusive people? I know that’s not conducive to me doing my best work. Creating a positive work environment is fundamental to sustained engagement.

What does your organization do to create an energized environment and enable you to do the work?

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