Tag Archives: employee engagement surveys

It Takes Two to Tango

I think it would be an easy cop-out to say that it is an Employer’s responsibility to keep workers engaged. Drilling down, one may even say it is Management’s sole function to keep workers engaged to ensure high productivity… But, this doesn’t paint the full picture. Yes, without a doubt management needs to actively engage their workers- give them variety in their task, autonomy within their work, and foster the connection one has with the purpose of their work; however, I’d like to focus on the relationship between and employee and an employer and how each plays a role in employee engagement.

As an employee it is also your responsibility to ‘maintain’ your engagement. If you feel yourself becoming disconnected from your work, bored, or feeling unchallenged, you have two options: you can say something to your boss, or you can stay silent. Sitting your boss down and saying your work is boring is not exactly what I’m suggesting- don’t misquote me! But what I am saying is that employers are not mind readers and many take the approach of no news is good news when looking at feedback from employees. Sometimes a candid conversation is needed, especially when the relationship between employee and manager is a good one. Like any relationship, including the employment one, communication is key. If you choose not to voice your concerns or wishes related to your work-that is completely your choice- sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and sometimes the squeaky wheel quietly looks for work at another organization in their spare time.

Remember those “Employee Engagement Surveys”? That is one avenue employers take to solicit feedback from employees and gauge levels of dedication, interest and happiness within the workplace. If the survey is sent out, and management takes no action upon the results, I’d say they shouldn’t have done a survey to begin with! If management receives the results, truly invests in making the changes employees say they need to stay engaged, and actually takes action, that is a great start to ensuring employees are engaged.

I think there is a lot to be learned about corporate culture playing into employee engagement, the law of attraction that states ‘like attracts like’, and the fact that most people like people like themselves. If your organization’s values and culture are strong, you may have a very homogenous workforce which is made up of many employees who are the right ‘fit’ for your organization and therefore are highly engaged simply because they do ‘fit’. Does that mean that whoever does the hiring and recruitment, those who deal with people who don’t even yet work for the company, have a hand in ensuring the workforce is engaged? More often than not, it is the Human Resources Department that actually manages much of the recruitment (gate keeping) for an organization and is also the department that conducts and employee engagement survey… however, I see Human Resources as a partner in engagement, but not the one responsible for it.

In the end, I’d say it takes two to tango and that both the employee and the employer have a role to play and are both responsible for employee engagement. I’m not even going to open the can of worms of talking about the role unions play in engagement… lets save that for another article!

Whose Responsibility is it to Ensure that Employees are Engaged?

Both employers and employees have an equally important role in ensuring that people are engaged in their work. Employers need to make sure the conditions in the workplace encourage innovation, initiative and growth, because these are key elements in helping employees feel engaged with the work they are doing. Employers also need to set performance management goals with their employees in order to balance expectations and tangible results. This helps to ensure that both employer and employee are on the same page. Employers also need to check in with their employees on a regular basis to discuss growth opportunities and workplace challenges. Staying engaged with employees helps make sure that employees are feeling engaged with their work.

Employees on the other hand need to actively pursue professional development opportunities. Many workplaces not only offer, but encourage employees to work on new projects, take on different roles, and pursue career advancement. I strongly believe that employees need to identify key elements that they are passionate about or interested in to stay engaged with their work. Employees must also be proactive, if they are feeling detached or discouraged in their work they need to talk with their managers/supervisors, and work to identify challenges as well as opportunities to change this situation. Employees need to challenge themselves on a regular basis so they don’t become complacent or bored with the work that they are doing. Employees have a big role in shaping the level of engagement they have with their work.

While there is no magic one-size fits all solution to staying engaged with work, I believe that if both employers and employees work together they can ensure that work stays challenging as well as rewarding.  This will be of benefit not only to the employer and employee but to workplace productivity and workplace culture.