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5 Ways to Influence a Culture of Engagement

Originally posted: October 28, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

Employee engagement has been on my mind continuously.  For as long as I can remember and regardless of the organization I’ve worked for, I’ve been part of an employee engagement team.  Like many things, as professionals we know what engagement is and that we need employees to feel engaged to achieve the goals of the organization.  What we all struggle with is what can we do to influence the work culture so that employees are more engaged.

Several months ago I wrote about using this blog as a collaboration tool in order to learn more about employee engagement.  Specifically, I said I wanted to show:

  • Engagement means different things to different employees
  • If an employee is engaged, you should be able to see evidence of it every day
  • Engagement is an ongoing cycle, not an annual survey

There were some great contributions from HR and business colleagues from around the country.  Most notably, people responded that engagement happens when you feel valued for what you do, when your supervisor shows they are committed to you and your development, and when you’re appreciated for excelling at work that may not (directly) be part of your job.  Lisa Rosendahl and Paul Hebert had some impressions about what employee engagement means that I’d like to share.  Lisa said that it’s, “people choosing to come to work and give it their best.”  Paul added that it’s, “the PROACTIVE application of the knowledge, skills, and abilities,” of the employees.  Those are all great descriptors that capture engagement.

Having a working definition allows us to bring it back to the important question of what we can do to influence the culture to promote an engaged workforce.

  1. Foster an innovative environment
  2. Provide challenging work assignments
  3. Give recognition daily
  4. Connect employees to the organization’s mission
  5. Be intentional, honest, and interact with integrity

Remember, engaging employees is far more than a pep rally or a fun event.  While those have value, it’s the day-to-day interactions with individuals that matter.  What do you think?  What other ways do you try to influence a culture that promotes engagement?

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