My friends in academia claim there is a unique way of rewarding excellence. Academics balance the fine line between competing with each other while collaborating. The old adage, “there is no I in team,” is relevant in research.
The competition is whose name appears as the lead author on the paper. Yet they are very generous to list all the researchers down the food chain who took part in the efforts to yield some new insight into their field. Everyone can take some credit.
By doing this there is an environment where each person feels engaged, while also offering resources for the rest of the department resources to continue its growth in the completion of its mission. Engagement grows the organization as a result of recognition and reward.
I am sure this is not unique to the field of academia, but its central idea is something we can always use. It’s a philosophy that transcends all fields and industries and you can find it helpful to you. Let’s look at 3 ways that this can work for your employee engagement.
- Make milestones memorable
- Asking employees about how they like to work
- Share recognition activities with the executive team
Make milestones memorable–One of the key concepts behind employee engagement is to make the employee feel like they are contributing. Let’s stop acting like an employee’s hard work doesn’t count. I always say that you don’t hire employees you hire people To more successfully engage with them we want to make sure those truly unique events, a work anniversary, a marriage, or a new baby, for example, are recognized a bit more.
Let’s be clear, these are not the types of events that recognize work performance, they are the type of events that are of great value to the person who works for the organization and the recognition/engagement by the organization will make the person feel like they belong more. Maybe recognize the person for these special events with someone very high up in the organization. That will make the individual feel like they belong and matter.
Asking employees about how they like to work–This is something most companies I meet struggle with. How do we build that bridge where we can determine what employees believe they need in order to succeed without building a program that follows the current whims of individual groups?
I am always amazed at how many organizations look at me almost slack-jawed when I ask them if they’ve asked their employees how they like to work. So much brain power and intellectual capacity is put into this process, and so much money is spent, that the question of, “did you turn on the switch?” never enters the process. If you want to know more about your employees then ask them. Seems simple!
One possible way to solve this problem is to use the onboarding process to determine how your employees might like to work. How about a quick survey where you can ask employees what works for them? The ones who fill out the form are likely to be the most engaged so you have a sense of who is and isn’t willing to provide the organization with the best input.
You don’t need to go to McKinsey or Gartner looking for some type of best practices documents to follow, You have built a team that you trust for a reason. Trust in yourself, and in them, that your human resources team can tackle this and build the right program.
Share recognition activities with the executive team-No one likes, nevermind loves, standing up in front of the leadership team and telling them what’s going on. But doing this can be rewarding and build a stronger organization. Having each senior manager build a single slide that measures engagement based on some type of organizational management. It allows for the sharing of good to great ideas.
In addition, it places management in the position of knowing precisely what is going on with the teams from the mid-level to the c-suite. It can provide a best practices guidebook that everyone in the team can learn from and gain the experience of seeing what does, and doesn’t work, in recognition.
KangoGift has been doing this for a long time so I can tell you that engagement so that activity first employee engagement is never going to work. What works best is for managers to engage with executive leadership via regular meetings to discuss how engagement is going and how it can go better. Open communication both vertically and horizontally is the best way to build a successful engagement. This is what we do so we know.