Tomorrow, I am speaking at South Africa’s “Best Company to Work For 2006” awards ceremony (live on Summit TV from about 8am). In preparation for this, the organisers sent me information on “Employee Engagement”, the theme of this year’s awards.
They sent an excellent article by Rich Wellins and Jim Concelman, “Creating a culture for engagement”. (Read it in full here, or download the PDF here.)
Some of the key points:
- Employee engagement has a direct impact on the bottom line performance of a company. Employees must do more than just arrive.
- Engagement is a leadership issue.
- Engagement is easiest when employees FIT the jobs they’re asked to do.
- There is a strong relationship between engagement and the degree to which employees see how their roles and their work relate to the overall strategic direction of the organization.
- Clear goals and expectations are essential to high engagement.
- Employees want and expect opportunities to grow their knowledge, expand their skills and experience new challenges.
- Many leaders invest little time, effort or money into recognizing peopleâ€™s efforts and accomplishments, even though the return on this investment can be phenomenal.
Many leaders invest little time, effort or money into recognizing peopleâ€™s efforts and accomplishments, even though the return on this investment can be phenomenal.
I’ve sometimes wondered if there is a bit of prejudice, a view that it’s Us and Them, instead of just “US”. When I grew up, I was a bit prejudiced. I somehow had it in my head that blue collar work was lower class stuff — Then I grew up. It is true that more blue collar workers tend to be less educated, but they do have a lot to contribute, and would, if conditions were right. If management were to open their eyes to what could be a gold mine, the company would be better off. All boats would rise. Is that too much to hope for? Is it pie in the sky idealism? What does it take to get management to see the light and to take the most correct approach towards mining that gold? If I knew, I would be telling you. There are a lot of books out there, presumably written by enlightened individuals, telling it how it is, how it can be, and how to get from point A to point B. Assuming they all work (on some level, I doubt that) the message isn’t getting through.