Creating a Culture of Engagement Element 1: Opportunity
Engagement happens when employees feel they are part of something important and have something to believe in.
The mental energy that best serves full engagement is realistic optimism—working positively toward a desired outcome or solution. Employees need to believe in the future. They need to see potential for the organization and believe they can contribute value. Having a “why” to work clearly increases engagement. Consequently, how the organization tells its story is key to creating a culture of engagement.
Most organizations have already established an organizational vision, mission, strategy, goals, etc. I am not suggesting that you change those to create more of a sense of opportunity. What I am suggesting is that we as leaders can be much more effective in how we talk about our organization’s direction and potential as a way to energize, inspire, and engage our employees. We need to create a story about our future that excites people. The fact is, most organizations put very little effort into doing this.
Focusing Questions for Leaders
- How do leaders communicate vision and direction in a way that excites people?
- How does that impact the energy of the people in the organization?
Creating a Culture of Engagement Element 2: Personal Accountability
Engagement happens when employees are expected to give their best and know what they are being held accountable for. When this is the case, personal accountability increases.
Employees, more often than not, tend to do what they believe is expected of them. If you want the best from employees, you need to expect the best. However, setting high expectations without accountability often leads to unfulfilled promise.
When employees are clear about what is expected of them from both a performance goals and personal behavior perspective—and know they will be held accountable—they tend to hold themselves accountable.
Therefore, personal accountability is often a stronger factor in an employee’s engagement than the accountability that comes from external sources.
Focusing Question for Leaders
- How do leaders communicate clear expectations to eliminate confusion about what is expected?