Talent Sustainability Tip # 3: Engage

Employee EngagementA lot of people see employee engagement as something complicated and difficult to accomplish. I see it as something very simple. All we have to do is listen, and by that I mean listen very closely, to our people.  Learn what is important to them, what gets them up each morning, what they value, what drives them.

Now, to bring all this close listening real value, we have to do something with the information! Acknowledge and meet employees’ needs and fuel their drives. In return, we get engagement. When our employees are engaged, they feel appreciated, valued, and free to approach us and to be approached themselves when work issues occur.

One question I am often asked is what to do when you can’t afford to provide all the things employees feel they need.  Well, you do what you can afford to do and you make sure your employees understand your limitations.

Your efforts to accommodate their needs and just the fact that you have taken time to listen makes a tremendous difference in how they feel about you, and that’s exactly what your goal should be. When employees have good feelings about you and your company, they are more willing to stay with you and even go the extra mile.

These are some examples of what we can do to meet our employees’ human needs—physical, mental, and emotional. Remember, this is the key to effective Talent Management and creating Talent Sustainability in your organization—Because we are simply human beings.™ 

Overworked and Ready to Leave


When employees are overworked, they are disengaged. And when disengaged workers stay in their jobs despite of how they feel, they are with you physically but are long gone emotionally.

To learn what you can do to bring disengaged employees back, Click here!

Engage Them by Appreciating Their Values and Fueling Their Drives


Employee engagement begins by determining what the current levels of engagement are at your company, and what is truly driving those results. This involves listening to employees’ opinions and suggestions and taking the adequate steps to make those improvements. When analyzing the results you may find that each employee has unique feelings about their job, and that is natural; we are all different.  However, the patterns that emerge indicate where significant improvements can be made to increase employee engagement.

For instance, based on recent survey results, you may find that your employees are not happy with the career advancement, promotional opportunity, management, and work environment you offer. From these results you may decide that improving management, employee growth and development, and working environment need to be the first goals in your employee engagement plan. So, what can you do to begin to make a difference in these areas?

If we follow a Holistic Approach, we want to begin by appreciating employees’ values and fueling their drives. Let’s use the survey results as a model to explain what we mean by this:

  • Appreciate their values. This means learning what employees’ values are and supporting their values. You already know what those values are by just looking at what your employees have told you in meetings and through survey results—they told you how they felt and what you can do to fix it. Employees that indicated management, opportunities for career advancement and promotion, and working environment as areas you need to improve to increase employee engagement communicated to you that what they value having a great manager, their professional growth and development, and having a comfortable and inviting working environment. What you do with this information is what shows whether you appreciate their values or not.
  • Fuel their drives. What you may not have realized is that your employees have also shared with you how you can begin to understand what drives them—they told you how they felt and what they need you to provide. Think about what makes you want to get up in the morning and go to work. Those employees who pointed out management as an area of improvement shared that being respected, trusted, and valued is a good reason to go to work—what drives them. Equally, those employees who indicated opportunities for career advancement and promotion as areas of discontent shared that what drives them is personal growth. Lastly, those who said you need to improve their working environment told you that they are driven by being part of a great culture.

So What Do You Do with Such Valuable Information?

Now that your employees have shared with you their thoughts and feelings, you know what they value and what drives them to go to work every day. Let’s look at what you can do to act upon the valuable information your employees shared with you. We will examine the three main causes of employee disengagement based on survey results:

Poor Management. If your employees are complaining about having poor managers and supervisors, this clearly says that you are lacking leadership and that you need to implement or strengthen your leadership development efforts. You may want to send your managers and supervisors to leadership workshops focused on employee engagement or offer up-to-date on-line learning opportunities. It is important that any new initiative in this area is well-communicated to all employees, so they are aware of your efforts.

Lack of Opportunity for Growth. If your employees are not happy with the opportunities for career advancement and promotion, it means that you are not investing enough in employee growth and development. Your managers and supervisors can find out what types of development opportunities to implement working together with the employees. It may be that you need to provide ways for your employees to work in a different function, so they can gain new skills. Or, it may be that you need to create a whole new learning culture; it all depends on where your company is in implementing Learning/Organizational Development strategies.

Unattractive Working Environment.  When employees say they are not content with their working environment, it simply means that you have not given priority to creating an attractive culture; a working environment that is physically, mentally, and emotionally comfortable and inviting for your employees. By Physically, I mean that your premises are adequate for the type of work performed in each function of your business. By Mentally, I mean that your employees’ goals and objectives are aligned with those of your business. And by Emotionally, I mean that our employees are emotionally connected to not only their co-workers, but also to their jobs and their organization—in other words, your employees love going to work every day because they believe in your purpose, and all people they work with feel the same way.

I hope what you take away from this perspective is that increasing employee engagement is really simple. All it takes is learning what is important to your employees and implementing strategies that show your appreciation for what they value. I believe in this because after all, we are simply human beings…

Photo credit: mediaphotos