Employees often temper their engagement when they feel they lack support. As a result, they slowly shift into a passive mode and are less likely to perform. In those times more than ever, they need easy access to guidance and mentoring. Not traditional mentoring though, usually involving a high potential and a more senior leader. What ordinary employees need is to be able to easily bring in a chosen set of people they know and trust. Getting different perspectives and benevolent influences as they change role or country, fight stress at work, think of ways to drive innovation, wonder about their next step, practice leadership skills or question themselves at any professional crossroad.
Belief n°3: Being helped and helping others should be made easy
What you want is having employees ask for support — sometimes emotional support — when they need it, and before they switch off the engagement button. It takes a lot of courage though as most people are afraid to show any vulnerability in the professional world. Informing their hierarchy or HR that they have questions on their mind impacting their engagement is probably the very last thing you can expect disengaged employees to do. It would also be unreasonable to think line leaders and support functions can re-engage the crowd while often in the midst of transformation and potentially struggling with engagement themselves.
To ensure employees don’t lack / wait too long for the support they need, we believe they should be encouraged to seek support confidentially from people they know and trust. It could be inside the company — peers, leaders, mentors, friends at work — or even outside — former school mates, family and friends…. This targeted support activated by the employee with people who are close will push back the limit of what can seem overwhelming or impossible when isolated. Not only would employees be surrounded and supported constructively when they need it, but in turn, they could even play an active mentor role for others.
We believe being helped and helping others can actually be made quite simple if you consider the types of ‘companions’ people need or embody:
The interconnector: introducing the right contact or helper
The challenger: providing feedback and constructive challenge
The supporter: offering emotional support and encouragement
The voice of wisdom: sharing knowledge and experience
The brainstormer: exploring new ideas and resources
It sounds obvious but helping employees pick the companions they need for their professional challenges, and trusting them in helping others, is a misused cure to disengagement. By offering your people an easy way to do so along their career, it fosters a culture of collaboration and reinforces leadership skills. What else?
See also in previous iNNERSHiP articles:
Belief n°1: considering the individual (truly) — the power of employees’ true aspirations
Belief n°2: it all starts with one question — helping employees think for themselves