Is Employee Engagement really about employees?

Or do you simply ask for more than you give?

Study after study show that the engagement level is fairly low among employees. Sure, a few are actively engagedmotivated and willing to go that extra mile. Some, however, are doing what they can to sabotagebully and in other ways behave like bad apples. regarding that second group: take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself: Is it really their fault or am I responsible as well? If it’s only about them, then kick them out! They will ruin your business.

But then there are those in the middle: those who do a decent job for a decent salary. “It’s a job”, nothing more. Some of them could survive miserable conditions, just getting by. What’s wrong with that? Well, plenty, if you ask some gurus…

When I listen to other thought-leaders and how they view employee engagement, they say three things:

  1. Employee engagement is not about happiness, but rather about determination, grit and perseverance.
  2. Engaged employees go above and beyond their pay check.
  3. Managers should make sure that their people adhere to points 1 and 2.

For me, number 3 is nonsense.

How can you expect every employee working in a low status job to have an inner glow and total commitment and loyalty to you, when they know that you could fire them with a pen-stroke? People can’t do their best if they are afraid.

How can you expect your people to go above and beyond, or work late hours, even if you don’t want to pay them to do it? (They have a life you know… with friends and family outside the office).

Accept that you should be happy if they show up, cooperate with their colleagues, behave nicely, and get things done. You don’t own themYou rent their know-how and behavior. That’s it.

Now, the better you are at explaining the whole purpose of your company’s existence and the values you expect them to share… and

the better you treat your people, the better they will treat each other – and your customers.

If you want to increase the engagement, then be kind to your people. Create a safe environment where they are allowed to make mistakes and where you can all discuss improvements without fearing the wrath of a small-minded, arrogant manager.

If you can help people to be just a few per cent more engaged, you will get tremendous results within just a few years. Money is not everything and never should be. Feeling like they belong, being treated with respect, and getting praise once in a while is great for boosting motivation and performance. Sulking, micro-managing and puimposingtting unrealistic demands while threatening people is not.

What are your thoughts on this? Let’s share ideas and help each other become better managers, leaders or just colleagues.

//Antoni Lacinai

Antoni Lacinai gives keynotes about Employee engagement, Leadership and Customer experience, His new book “Employee engagement – 20 keys to outstanding workplace communication” is out now.

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