People often ask me, “What’s the secret to increasing employee engagement?” There are a few ways to achieve this, but the best way I’ve found is to give work a higher purpose, if possible. We all want to feel we’ve contributed value or made a positive impact.
One of the best examples I have seen of this was when I worked at DHL. The business manager told the team that the purpose of our ‘Improving On-Time Delivery Program’ was not about improving customer satisfaction, reducing penalties or increasing productivity, no, he said the real purpose of the program was to ensure that kids got their birthday presents on their birthday and not a day later, it was to ensure that patients received their medication when they needed it, and not a couple of days later.
This gave the work we were doing a higher purpose, and you could see the engagement visibly rise within the group, not only did we know what we were doing but we understood why.
A good way of increasing engagement is to increase involvement in the decision-making process, where possible, as they say, ‘no involvement, no commitment’. If people feel part of the decision-making process they will feel so much more involved in the project. It’s now their project rather than something that has been predetermined and they have no chance of shaping.
A good leader can also increase engagement through the way that he interacts with his team. If they keep their distance and look to manage through a command and control style this will have a negative effect, whereas a leader who is open and close to his team, where the team feels they are working with the leader than for the leader, then there will be significantly more engagement.
Communicate, communicate, communicate – the better your team understand the goals, the approach and the reasoning, the more engaged they can be. If they are unsure of the what, why and how, then it’s very difficult to engage.
Whilst there are many other techniques, to increase engagement, I do feel that these are the most powerful and should be explored first.
If you have any comments or questions I would be more than happy to hear them.
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