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We're making employee engagement personal - here's how
01ST APRIL 2019
It’s been over 25 years since the concept of employee engagement originated – thanks to the work of William Kahn. Kahn’s articulation of engagement was very much focussed on the individual employee and the extent to which they were inspired and enabled to be their best selves;
“The engagement concept was developed based on the premise that individuals can make real choices about how much of their real, personal selves they would reveal and express in their work.”
Since then employee engagement has become something that almost every organisation invests in, through activity spanning engagement strategies, surveys, and communications. As a result, employee engagement is now often seen and talked about as the responsibility of the employer; where leaders and managers are expected to introduce solutions to improve engagement.
There’s no doubt that support from the top is essential, but this feels quite far from Kahn’s original articulation, and we often see that engagement becomes more meaningful when it’s seen as something that’s shared between employer and employee. In addition to this, we know that employees are becoming increasingly used to capturing and monitoring data about their own personal lives, from FitBits to smart meters. Why shouldn’t this also apply to the workplace? Can we be more transparent and provide employees with the data on their own engagement?
At Engine Transformation, we think so – which is why we are rolling out personal engagement reports for our clients.
Empowering employees to be accountable for their own engagement
We’re passionate supporters of involving employees in co-creating solutions and changes based on their feedback given through surveys or listening tools. But for teams to take an active role in these conversations, they need to be empowered to understand more about the status of their own personal engagement.
Anna Rowlett, Consultant in our Employee Research team has introduced personal engagement reporting to some of her clients: “We wanted to create a simple and effective solution for providing respondents with their very own engagement reports. The reports are designed to self-evaluate their own work-life experience helping colleagues to see how they scored and pointing them in the right direction on how to start improving their own engagement and working experience. These can be viewed by the employee as soon as they’ve completed the survey to create a rapid feedback loop, while their thoughts from the survey are fresh in their mind”
The ideal outcome is that the reports encourage conversations between employees and their managers around their own development, while also encouraging them to be an active participant in making their workplace a better place. However, we always ensure that employees have the right to keep their personal reports confidential.
Integrating personal engagement in your organisation
Naturally, there are many benefits from introducing a personal approach to engagement in your organisation - however, there are also some important considerations, as Anna notes:
“We typically advise our clients who are introducing personal engagement reporting that it’s a good idea to brief managers on the approach to ensure we are encouraging the right behaviours. First and foremost, we need to ensure managers respect that employees may want to keep their reports confidential and not discuss the feedback in them with the manager. However, where employees are willing to share the content of the report of the report itself, this can be hugely valuable context for 1-2-1 conversations and creating objectives. Essentially, if a manager can create a culture of open and honest feedback in their team, then personal engagement can become a very valuable tool for both managers and employees.”
In the context of the current world of employee engagement, it can often be easy to forget that our employees are our core audience and they also need to be empowered to create change – not just managers and leaders.
Engagement isn’t something that is ‘done to people’, it is an outcome of a strong and positive culture and the relationship between employees and employers. Personal engagement can be a powerful tool to reset the balance and return to Kahn’s original concept of engagement being about how individuals create their own sense of engagement.
Interested in learning more about giving employee engagement more of a personal touch, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org