What would really engage your employees at work? (Part 1)

In a world where the majority of people’s time is spent at work, it’s disappointing to know that only a minority are actually truly engaged with their work. According to a worldwide study conducted by the Gallup group, only 13% of employees are engaged and sincerely dedicated to their work. Figures vary by country, but engaging the remaining 87% is therefore the challenge most leaders face as they seek high performance.

With iNNERSHiP, we are fortunate to work on this topic with various customers, in various industries (distribution, construction, sports, education, services) and various countries. And as we go, a few beliefs are being reinforced.

Belief n°1 : Consider the individual (truly)

Not all employees have the same goals, lifestyle, nor dreams. So, the “one size fits all” approach does not fit the world of work. Individuals have deep personal motivations that will enable them to achieve their life goals. And, it goes without saying, that these are intimately linked to their work and career. Individuals will find themselves questioning and exploring their next career move. This is the exact situation where a company should provide support to their employees as individuals, not as a single homogenous global workforce. And not through a standard managerial process. People need to feel supported as an individual, understood as a person having personal motivations, willingness, and passions.

A company, through its leaders and HR, needs to support the growth of employees, but it should not pilot their careers. Employees should. By making it easy for people to effectively take the lead on a professional project that matters to them and in line with their true aspirations, you allow for surprises in what can be achieved by an engaged employee. This anecdote from leadership coach Peter Baeklund illustrates well the stakes around employees’ growth:

CFO asks CEO, “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”

CEO: “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”.

Individual empowerment when it comes to career development is an essential first step towards real employee engagement.

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