Build an Engaged Workforce

An Engaged Workforce
An Engaged Workforce

Every morning, as I walk towards the office, I am greeted by a warm, energetic, enthusiastic security officer – “Good Morning! Had your breakfast?”  He then follows up with two thumbs-up and a compliment about my dressing, my briefcase, etc.  This gets better – He engages in a similar conversation with each of my 40 colleagues every single morning.  Each person who interacts with him walks away with a smile.

Why would an individual engage with every customer in this manner?  What makes a person driven towards excellence in whatever he/she does?  How does an organisation transform its workforce to become more connected towards achieving organisational goals?

The answer lies in the words “Engaged Employee”.

3 Types of Employees at the Workplace

To this very day, many people tend to use the term “employee engagement” and “employee satisfaction” interchangeably.  However, in reality, employee engagement bears a deeper significance to an organisation’s productivity levels and meeting organisational objectives.

Our research shows that there are typically three “types” of employees at the workplace – Disengaged, In-transit, and Actively Engaged.

The Disengaged:

Simply put, disengaged employees are individuals who have “resigned”  years ago but did not formally inform HR about their intentions.  These are employees who are seemingly busy doing many things but no one in the organisation has any clue what this person is busy with!  Worst still, disengaged employees typically undermine the efforts of engaged employees.

The “In-transit”

These are individuals who typically form the clear majority of employees in an organisation, are able to perform their tasks relatively well, but only contribute to the extent required to keep their jobs.  “In-transit” employees are at “high-risk” since they can be easily influenced by recruitment campaigns undertaken by the “Disengaged” camp.

The “Actively Engaged”

Individuals who are aligned to the objectives of the organisation, contribute positively to the work environment, treat colleagues as family, and feel that their contributions shape the future of the organization.   Engaged employees are more productive, contented and likely to demonstrate loyalty.

How do we grow the Actively Engaged cohort?

1.   Surround the In-transit with Actively Engaged

Behavioural Research undertaken on Social Influence shows that individuals tend to conform to the others who form the majority.  In other words, by placing an “in-transit” employee in the presence of several “Actively Engaged” employees, there is high likelihood that the “in-transit” employee will start thinking, behaving and speaking just as the “actively engaged”.

2.  Convert the Disengaged

There is a tendency for many organisations to write-off disengaged employees.  However, disengaged employees offer the largest untapped potential for organisations to improve its performance and profitability.  Probably the easiest and quickest way to get them onboard is to identify a project / task that they have expressed an interest.  It could even be a hobby that can be translated to something of value to the organization.  The key is to be able to weave this interest into the workplace and make them responsible for it.  In other words, there is a need to identify what makes these individuals tick and light that fire.

3. Recruit Right!

Sometimes, the best way of building an engaged culture is by ensuring that the right individuals are hired.  During the interview process, look out for signs of engagement!  Ask questions such as “how do you keep yourself motivated?”, “outside your immediate job scope, how else have you contributed to your organisation”, “do you have a friend at work that you call family?”

For most of our clients, building a culture of Engaged Employees takes years.  Through perseverance, organisations that have built a strong contingent of engaged employees have consistently outperformed best-in-class time and again.

Need some advice? Give us a holler!  The team at Beacon Consulting would love to hear from you.

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