We recently hosted a series of webinars on the topic of employee engagement across the globe. You can watch a replay of the APAC webinar entitled “Keys to Employee Engagement in Asia Pacific” here. The US and EMEA versions entitled “How Great Leaders Drive Results through Employee Engagement” can be found here and here, respectively . Participants were highly active in all regions and filled the chat boxes with questions; while we answered as many as we could in the allotted time, we just could not get to all of them. In this blog post, Ellen Foley and I address many of the outstanding questions from across the globe.
1. How can you coach your managers/leaders to develop good climate and trust?
Helping leaders develop good climate and trust is a development process that takes place over time. We recommend the following steps:
- Provide practical leadership development, including best practices, to help the leader understand what “good” looks like.
- Use an assessment instrument to focus the leader on his or her gaps.
- Have the leader identify the specific opportunities they have to use best practices to build good climate and trust in the day-to-day rhythm of their work.
- Provide coaching, positive reinforcement and recognition to the leader as they try out the best practices and have success improving on their specific gaps.
2. Employees say they want training, team building, social activities, etc. and we organise all that and then people don’t want to come. How should we deal with this? How do we make employees appreciate what we’ve done?
It is not uncommon for HR professionals to be frustrated by employees who do not seem to appreciate or participate in the organisation’s engagement efforts — particularly when activities take a lot of energy and resources to plan and execute. This challenge highlights the difference between company-wide engagement effort and individually-focused engagement efforts. Corporate engagement efforts, while having some impact on employees, are blunt instruments. That is, they have to be so broad that it is nearly impossible that they will appeal to the majority of employees. In contrast, individual efforts, managed by leaders at the work team and employee level, are much more targeted and effective instruments for driving employee engagement. One way we have seen organisations successfully balance these two types of activities is to minimise the corporate-wide activities and share some of the budget for these types of activities out to managers to use for targeted activities with their teams.
3. In a conservative working environment where open communication is not the standard, how do you encourage employee engagement?
This can certainly be a challenge, particularly in some Asian companies, as communication is a key component in employee engagement. How you define “open” is important to this discussion. Open communication does not mean sharing every bit of information with employees. In fact, in many situations it is not appropriate to do so. However, in situations where confidential information cannot be shared with employees, managers who communicate with empathy and authenticity are still able to build trust and engagement with their employees. In addition, we recommend managers focus on understanding the specific engagement needs of their teams by looking at the Climate Dimensions – clarity, commitment, standards, responsibility, recognition, teamwork – and also by recognising and attending to the various engagement needs of individual employees. Read the rest of this entry »