Employee Engagement – Are they truly ENGAGED?
I recently spoke to one of my newly assigned subordinates, who after putting in long enough years into service was not satisfied with what he was doing. He asked me a very open yet powerful question – Is there any meaning to what I am being asked to do or is it only to keep me occupied?
That one question made me ponder upon how we are mistreating the notion of ENGAGEMENT in the organizations today. The question itself was sufficient for me to realize that this fellow was not really engaged!!
Now, when I talk about ENGAGEMENT, what does it actually mean?
Let me put up a short story here (as told by David Nour, managing partner of The Nour Group, Inc.)
In a small village in Persia, a group of villagers is weaving a basket together. A wise man walks by and asks them what they are doing. The first says, “I am pushing one straw against another.” The second says, “I am making a basket.” The third answers, “I’m helping a family carry food to feed his family.”
Though they were all three working on the same project, they each saw their jobs very differently. It is about how people see their jobs. Is it as the same mundane pushing of one woven strip against another, or do they see a little bigger than that – which is the basket itself – or do they see a purpose for why they are doing what they are doing?
The clear difference here is that the last villager was ENGAGED.
Organizations that have been able to ENGAGE the employees have seen sustainable growth over the years. Employees feel energetic, motivated and more productive when they are engaged. They feel very strong sense of belonging and connection when they know what they are doing and more importantly WHY they are doing so!
I always believe that people genuinely want to play an important role. No matter how trivial any task may be, but it contributes to the bigger picture anyhow. Everyone wants to have the sense of accomplishment by being attached to real results.
Most organizations fail at engaging its employees by giving them clarity on the bigger picture and how they can contribute to it.
Every individual wants to be a part of something BIG – BIG Successes, BIG accomplishments! It also gives a sense that one is as BIG as the effort!
There is a huge difference in SAYING that you are a part of the BIG picture and actually ENGAGING people. I feel that today’s leaders and HR folks need to give a serious attention to this issue if they want their people to stay with the organization in thick and thin.