What exactly is employee engagement? Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put extra effort into their work – because they want to. Engagement isn’t just about doing my job; it’s about doing my job above and beyond. It’s not about making me successful; it’s about making me AND the company successful. It’s not a personal commitment; it’s a mutual commitment.
Engagement & Involvement
Are they the same or different? What about you — are you engaged – or involved? What should you be? “Engaged” and “involved” at first glance may seem quite similar – however, if we delve a bit deeper into how these two words might be less synonymous…maybe we might find more power as a leader. The difference is one of the fundamental tenants of Active Influence.
Motivation vs. Engagement
Ok, if motivation is the will to do something and engagement is the active agreement to do something, that is very similar to my behavior last January. I sign up for a membership at my local gym = motivation; engagement is my showing up 3X a week to work out.
As I can attest to years of good intentions to work on my fitness and to lose weight, being motivated is only half of the answer – getting on my bicycle and clocking the miles is engagement toward my goal to be stronger and more fit.
What about your employees? I am sure you can rank your employees as to who is the most engaged and who is the least engaged. How do you inspire engagement? How do you get someone who is motivated to move to the next level and be engaged?
I think we have to build a bridge for the person – step one is to identify the best person on the team to get started, the next step is to connect with their heart, next share the vision and then get out of their way. An employee who has the vision and the passion will be engaged, and their energy will be infectious to those around them. As leaders we have to be open to their vision and ideas and let them be part of the solution.
There is nothing better than to have all the employees on the dairy with a passion for the welfare of the animals; they won’t tolerate someone mistreating the cows. Imagine if everyone who worked with you would do whatever was necessary all the time to make sure all the animals are safe and well treated…. how much better would you sleep at night?
I believe the best path to a highly engaged workforce starts with recruiting highly passionate people. This is the one of the most challenging roles of a leader and is never ending!
An Ongoing Battle
We as leaders – human beings in general, really – want to do things once, do them really well, and then move on to the next thing. We have a tendency to struggle with things that need doing over and over again. We want to motivate our employees once by doing something fantastic, and then we assume they’ll stay motivated for the rest of their careers. That’s not how it works.