Employee Engagement-What They Never Tell You
While it is important to create an environment in which employees have the freedom to be enthusiastic about their work, what no one ever says is:
You cannot engage others without their cooperation.
You cannot force employee engagement. You can create the most amazing environment ever, one in which the leadership is open to input, provides meaningful and useful feedback, involves the staff in decision making and shares information that many businesses withhold. You can do all that and more—ping pong tables, complimentary massages, nap stations and gourmet food—and if some members of your team don’t want to be engaged, they won’t be. You can’t make them! If you do create that kind of environment, the good news is that those members of your team who are willing to be engaged will significantly increase their productivity.
Look at yourself. Are you engaged? Do you get excited about solving problems or making things work better? Do you think about how to do so even when you’re “off the clock?” I don’t mean, “Do you worry?” Worry is not engagement; worry is focusing on something you don’t think can be solved. Engagement happens when you are focused on potential solutions and when you are continually asking, “How could we do this better?” If you answered “no” to the previous questions, I will bet wads of money you are disengaged in your personal life, as well. And anything your employer does to engage you on the job will be a wasted effort.
The desire to engage comes from within and permeates every aspect of your life.
So how do you “fix” employees who refuse to engage? You can’t. The best you can do is ask them questions that might get them to tap into their own motivation. You may be skilled enough to do this, you might need support from your Human Resources department, or it could be worthwhile to engage the services of a Professional Coach.
If you want to increase your own level of engagement the most important question to ask yourself is,
Why do I come to work every day?
When I pose this question my programs someone inevitably jokes, “Because I like to eat” which, translates to, “I have to” which is a lie. There are plenty of people who decide not to work and suffer the consequences—they sleep on friends’ or parents’ couches or even become homeless. No one HAS to work and if you are working, it means that somewhere within you is a strong why; you’ve just forgotten what it is.
Your why doesn’t need to be about the work itself, it’s simply important that you know what it is. My grandmother’s cousin Annie loved to travel. Her entire life she would get a job, work really hard at it, put as much money away as possible, then quit and travel until her funds ran out. She was crystal clear why she worked—it made it possible to indulge her passion for travel. When she passed away, I was cleaning out her house and found her passport. It is one of my more cherished possessions.
If you’re waiting for someone else to somehow motivate you to become engaged in your own life, it’s going to be a very long wait. If you want work you enjoy so much that it gets you out of bed in the morning, then figure out your “why” and watch what happens!
Ann Miller Circa 1920