“Mr. La Forge, Engage!”

Several recent events have brought associate engagement to the fore-front. Since the quite frank and refreshing conversation that out CIO had at the associate breakfast a little while back, I’ve looked inward to find where I was engaged and where I wasn’t and why. The classic definition of engagement doesn’t fit this conversation, however I did find this:

Employee Engagement[Business Management Concept] An “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests.

At work I always act in a way that furthers my company’s interests, mainly because being an employee ties my future with the company’s. When the company benefits; I benefit. But I can say that there have been instances where I felt… less than enthusiastic. I worked hard non-the-less, but it felt like a weight on my shoulders. Did the work get done?…Yes. Was it a quality job?…Of course. Was it on-time?…Always. But, all the same, by the time I got home I was beat, mentally and physically. My wife would force me to “leave work out on the tree.” Which of course made it that much heavier.

Here are instances I’ve seen where a little recognition could provide quite a boost to associate engagement with very little cost:

  • Being backed up – When your supervisor has your back and writes a wrong or injustice…That’s engaging!
  • Recognition from your boss’s boss – A personal email from your director goes a long way: Let’s you know that your work makes a difference and was noticed.
  • Role expansion – Being allowed to expand one’s role is very engaging.
  • Idea investigation – If you have an associate that has an idea that could potentially benefit the company, create an environment where it could be explored by the associate. Make sure that when it works and is beneficial, that associate is in the front getting credit…engaging!
  • Career coaching – Work with the associate to discover where their career is going and what it could become. Associates that can see their future are engaged.
  • Comp time – If someone has worked extra hours, and/or through the weekend, giving a day or two off is a great way to allow the associate to recharge…..and get enhanced engagement.

There are many others…and the best part is all you have to do to find some is ask. I guess there is nothing more inspiring, at least in my mind, as getting a little recognition for your contributions and being involved in shaping your environment.

An observation if I may: Sometimes it only takes one act to disengage a highly engaged associate…Tread carefully.

So…When was the last time you were recognized for your contribution or allowed to make a difference? When was the last time you acknowledge someone for their contributions?

Leave a Reply