Building Trust Builds Up Employee Engagement
Our mission at POP is bringing people and ideas into focus to make initiatives succeed. Leaders need to stop making decisions in a vacuum and start pushing accountability down throughout their organizations.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. With our POPin app, leaders can create a micro social network to operationalize employee engagement around a single problem. But first it is important to understand the concept of employee engagement and what that really means.
Engagement is defined as the act of building communal ownership and accountability for what your business or organization stands for, according to “Essential techniques for employee engagement,” a report by the Ashridge Business School in the UK.
One can think of engagement as treating employees as business partners. We all know that partnerships unravel when one side withholds information, or doesn’t engage with the other partner in putting plans into action. Employee engagement cannot be achieved through a mechanistic management approach that manipulates employee emotions and loyalties. Trying to extract discretionary efforts through subtle forms of coercion will backfire, causing people to become disillusioned or even cynical about their jobs.
Real employee engagement stems from showing respect for everyone’s viewpoints, regardless of their job roles. Engagement is the result of really listening to employees and drawing out their unique ideas and talents. Salaries, benefits and perks are not the only incentives that drive engagement in the workplace. Employees want to focus on clear goals and they want regular, constructive feedback. Employees also want to develop new skills and receive recognition for their successful contributions.
Most employees are motivated to join organizations that provide some sense of working towards a greater goal. Humans are social animals who want to feel included as members of a team. Employees need to feel that their department or division is integral to the success of the larger organization.
Companies with highly engaged workforces have been shown to increase operating income by 19.2 percent over 12 months, according to a global study
by Towers Perrin-ISR. In that same period, operating income declined by 32.7 percent for companies with low engagement scores. Likewise, net income grew by 13.7 percent at companies with high engagement scores, compared to net income declining by 3.8 percent at those with low engagement scores. The Towers Perrin-ISR study encompassed 664,000 employees at 50 companies across various industries worldwide.
The evidence is clear: Building trust builds up employee engagement. When people are fully engaged, they are more committed to improving products and services. That increased level of commitment causes employees to work more innovatively. In turn, fewer people end up taking sick leave, having workplace accidents, or leaving staff. When employees become fully engaged, conflicts and grievances go down just as productivity goes up. It’s that simple.