Employee engagement falls on the leadership.
So, it's no big secret that the "2014 Best Places to Work Survey" solidifies the fact that leadership is the key to employee engagement. According to the survey, we know that employees lack confidence in their leaders. They want to know that their senior leaders are committed to making smart decisions that positively impact both the business and the workforce. They want to be valued as one of the most important assets to success and they want professional and career growth opportunities. Doesn't sound unreasonable to me.
I asked my good friend, Katherine Murphy, Manager of Talent Development for an international business this question. "In your opinion, what role does leadership play in employee engagement?"
She says, "Everything! As leaders, it is our responsibility to create a culture of inclusion, empower employees to think outside the box, take stretch assignments, and inspire innovation. Leaders need to build a culture of trust so that employees feel they can take risks, participate in productive conflict and successfully hold themselves (and others) accountable without fear of retaliation. A strong focus on development is key as well. People want to learn and grow (both personally and professionally). Create opportunities for employees to accelerate in their roles, scale up, and support their peers. Having fun never hurt either! Get to know your teams and employees."
Amen, Katherine. That sounds like the perfect work environment.
Personally, I have spent many years working along side HR departments, in wellness, to assist in employee engagement strategies and here is what I see. In addition to what any survey results unveil, people have to work in areas that they are happy and talented. If you are passionate about customer service but work as a picker in a factory you are likely not going to be engaged in your work. If you are talented in project management but are stuck in an office crunching numbers you are not going to be happy. This falls back to leadership again. Our leaders must recognize their employee's talents and skill sets and make sure they are in roles that suit them best. Not only will this improve employee engagement it will improve business. It is simply a smart strategy.
All right leaders, you know what you have to do. You have the survey results, the data, and the expert advice. It is time to create an environment that elicits happy, healthy, engaged employees who love their work and improve your bottom line. It's a win-win solution!