'Employee engagement' is a buzzword that has been around for many years. This term generally refers to everyone in a company, from the CEO down to entry-level workers, who participates meaningful ways while contributing to the betterment of the organization. A book by entrepreneur Evan Hackel, called "Ingaging Leadership: 21 Steps to Elevate Your Business," takes engagement a bit further.
The "I" in "Ingaged"
Ingaged leaders are more involved in their companies, which is why Hackel spells the word with an "i." The author explains that employee engagement usually means every worker plays a role in the company's overall plan. Executives and managers outline what everyone does in this plan, and this helps to keep all employees on the same page as they implement the strategy. For example, management should clearly outline everyone's roles as the company delivers a new product line to a market. It's the job of supervisors to get everyone excited about new products, and everyone should maintain their focus on this initiative.
Hackel believes ingaged leaders should let employees have a say in the design and planning of an organization and not just the execution part of business strategy. The idea is that everyone has a say, everyone contributes their ideas and the employer transforms these ideas into an executable plan. Rather than focus on getting the product to market using practical steps, ingagement means employees have a stake in the planning process before the executable part of the plan happens. Employee engagement expands to include every worker in all aspects of the company's strategy, thereby giving everyone a stake in the outcome from the very beginning of the plan.
Inside Employees' Heads
Rather than relying on written monthly reports fashioned by managers, upper-level executives should see what it's like for employees on the front lines. Doing this can help them identify areas that need improvement, such as customer service, supply chain problems or sales strategies. Ask questions to discover what management can do to implement changes that makes the jobs of employees easier and more efficient. Sometimes, getting to know the situation of employees is better than seeing raw numbers from a company-wide survey.
Employee engagement helps alleviate any disgruntled feelings. When you give these employees a way to improve their own situations, leaders get more cooperation from teams when they implement changes.
The benefits of ingagement (with an "i") are several, according to Hackel. Leaders who maintain open lines of communication with all team members see improved profits, better growth, more innovation and better competition against other companies. This type of employee engagement creates better retention rates and happier workers. Get ready for faster problem-solving because you identify areas of concern faster and implement changes quickly before problems get out of hand.
Employee engagement should evolve to mean everyone works together to enhance all aspects of a company, including planning and implementation of strategies. Just as a sports team knows how to implement a particular game strategy and individual plays, so should your teams of employees as they work towards a company goal.
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