Updated: 4 days ago
There are huge hidden costs to bear from a disengaged workforce. In this comprehensive study from CIPD People Management, many of them are detailed; https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/article/1796442/three-five-workers-disengaged-costing-uk-economy-billions-study-finds
Standard practice in UK industry is to buy some new kit, build a couple of team-building/leadership exercises into the budget, and bury heads in sand. This is nobody's fault, it's a vestige of the old days when people stayed with a company only for a wage packet and work-life balance wasn't even a phrase.
What it takes to gain Engagement
Excellence demands investment of time and dedication to your personnel, their self-worth and the EQ inherent in the workplace. This means that leaders have to understand and apply emotional intelligence to their methods and re-learn the ropes of empathic management drummed out of existence by hard-core approaches to industrial initiatives. Lean and 6S, process-led and process-driven, have no alignment with the behavioural aspects of workplace protocol, meaning their investment is often wasted in the face of low morale, high turnover and production issues relating to communication breakdown.
You want, if you're serious about engagement, to be making preparations for:
Trusted communication portals
Enthusiasm for positive change
Autonomy and innovation
Motivation towards best-practice
All of which are dependent upon employees making choices for themselves, based on sound advice, knowledge share and experiential evidence.
Where to start?
Understand where people are coming from when they have an issue to raise. Analyse the root causes of discontent and educate leaders across the matrix on what constitutes empathic management.
Provide opportunities for growth and development. Give people a chance to learn how to self-manage, grow in confidence and show their inherent talents to the company.
Ensure recognition is fair and motivational, avoiding competition at all costs. Don't expect workers to apply themselves to long shifts without psychological and emotional reward, or they will walk (and talk about their experiences).
Make change appealing - get people involved in its process and help them lead lives with greater competence, in the workplace and beyond.
Clarify best-practice by inviting employees to identify it! A million memos won't get the message across, but an open consensus of opinion certainly will.
What to expect
From this position, you will find visible results surfacing relatively quickly as people talk amongst themselves and exchange notes on their contribution to the company's new mode. When employees feel involved in change mechanics, this fuels their motivation to do well; it's inherent in us to want to demonstrate the best of our capabilities.
As the consensus of what's good for the company (and everyone in it) gathers pace, change occurs of its own accord. Communication flow gains traction and people are more inclined to treat each other well. This raises production levels as a natural consequence - no memos required.
Issues are identified and resolved more quickly. Not by condemning the causes of fire-fights, but by allowing people to acknowledge and own their input to the equation without fear. Fire-fighting stems from fear of responsibility, lack of accountability and reluctance to step out of silos.
How to present Engagement to your peers
Confident that disengagement is costing millions in the long run, broach the matter with conviction and statistical evidence. Relying on goodwill to get this past the Board could cost you the opportunity, for money still shouts loudest; while the upshot of an engaged workforce is psychologically and emotionally beneficial for everyone, there is a clear case of profit-versus-loss to be made here, so use it to advantage.
Have a clear strategy to implement over the course of a year (at least). Avoid pitching an initiative that has no long-term traction or it will lose impetus, and therefore lose credibility at the outset.
Conjoin your own ideas with a recognisable policy. ESG and CSR are both great options, and can be effectively utilised in tandem with each other. Forming and launching a CSR policy is relatively easy and if you choose to take the ESG route, there are more benefits to be gained in terms of application and accreditation.
Come to your own Conclusion
Accepting the critical importance of engagement is the first step towards implementation, and going about it the right way is a matter of trusting yourself to make good choices; well-placed discussions lead to positive collaborations. En route to engagement you'll find that more people have your back than you might have imagined, because everyone wants the same things - a well-balanced lifestyle, enjoyable time well spent and a sense of purpose. These are the promissories of engagement, they are very real outcomes and it's up to you now to take the courage of your convictions to the next level.
Have a chat with me if you like - soundboarding is refreshingly free.
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