An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests. Last week our local CIPD Midwest committee and the University of Limerick organised a seminar on Employee Engagement which was a big success as 92 people attended this seminar. For the CIPD Midwest this was probably the highest number of people ever attending such an event. This success was due to the involvement of the Human Resource Section of the University of Limerick. A big thank you to them!
There were four speakers at the seminar, three from UL; Sarah MacCurtain, Michelle Hammond and Paddy Gunnigle and one outside speaker Kieran Dunne from MSD, who from practical experience spoke about a major change process in a Multinational and how to engage with employees during such a process. In all it was an excellent seminar!
I was intrigued by Sarah MacCurtain’s lecture regarding a more personal engagement. Sarah asked the question how engaged are you yourself? Great to increase the engagement of all staff members but if you are not engaged yourself how can you ask others to be so? As a manager you need to establish what engages you and how visibly engaged you are with your work and company. Your levels of engagement have an effect on your employees as employees will spot if you are not really engaged and just going through the motions. So as a manager check how engaged you are and increase if necessary your own levels of engagement before trying to engage others with work and company.
Furthermore the levels of trust between a manager and his employees are critical for the success of the engagement process. If there is no trust then it will be difficult to engage the employees. Trust is something which doesn’t happen overnight it has to be nurtured over a period of time where a manager in his dealings with staff members has proven to be trustworthy, in effect he does what he says he will do and the manager is working both for the good of the company and the staff members. If you have a manager who is engaged himself and trustworthy then he could try to successfully engage his workers to increase their engagement themselves.
There is one more element which is important and that is integrity. Basically you are honest and will tell the truth when it matters, because if a manager has integrity you will trust him.
It shows the importance of the manager’s behaviour. You might say that this is too much for me as my behaviour can’t be held to scrutiny in such a way. Unfortunately as a leader and manager you need to be congruent in your day to day actions. That is the basic requirement to successfully engage others.
You might say this isn’t worth it. However I might remind you that in the seminar it was highlighted that research from the Hay Group finds that organisations with highly engaged employees outperform those with the most disengaged employees, by 54% in employee retention, by 89% in customer satisfaction, and by 400% in revenue growth. It is pays as a manager to be trustworthy, have high levels of integrity and behave in a congruent manner.
The global financial crisis has, however, taken its toll on engagement, as employees endure pay freezes, benefit cuts and layoffs. As a result it is even more important to be trustworthy as a manager!