When we hear the word authentic applied to the work world we often become dubious and can sometimes react with a negative mindset. When I’m working with HR leaders on their employee engagement I find that one of the biggest needs they have is for their tools to be authentic - not just pretend to be authentic. Not an easy thing to accomplish in the modern business environment.
Simply stated, HR leaders want to create environments where employees know their managers are being honest, mindful, and genuine.
True authenticity requires human-to-human relationships, a level of transparency and the ability to align actions to the organization’s mission.
Three Ways to Demonstrate Authenticity at Work
- By creating the type of workplace experience that provides fulfillment for employees both professionally and personally
- By helping everyone understand the organization’s goals and vision and how they contribute to its achievement
- By acknowledging authenticity has limits
By creating the type of workplace experience that provides fulfillment for employees both professionally and personally— True employee engagement results in a more fulfilling life experience for both the manger and the team members. This is not about amusement or events it’s about the human-to-human engagement that makes one understand that they are contributing to a larger whole and aren’t another cog in some faceless machine.
The essential step towards being mindful of your authenticity is to make sure you are aligned with a larger mission. This is about honesty and, most importantly, letting your employees know you are being honest. And without sacrificing that understanding that you are not, cannot, share everything with them. The idea to employees is that they matter and are being respected by being brought into contributing to the larger mission.
By helping everyone understand the organization’s goals and vision and how they contribute to its achievement—Part of being authentic is being honest in the sense that employees need to understand and appreciate contributions not just in the sense of the organization’s success, but also in how it is measured in their individuals sense of accomplishment and achievement.
The best way I would explain this is to think about the employee who does a great job on a project. The manager wants to make sure they are recognized so by recognizing this you are helping them to understand how they contributed and, since they know the organization’s goals and mission, they appreciate how much they have contributed.
By acknowledging authenticity has limits —While authenticity is based on honesty it does have boundaries. We have to face reality and understand what full authenticity is about. Obviously there will be instances when the situation calls for a withholding of information. It is essential that you remember that authenticity is about a human relationship and not sharing information. The human relationship is at the core of authenticity.
The main reason authenticity is so hard to achieve because of its very complexity and that one’s authentic experience isn’t based on some formula or baseline measurement. It’s that previously mentioned person-to-person experience that makes authenticity work.
Based on these, some of the conclusions I have drawn to provide the most authentic experience are:
- Being consistently authentic will lead to a fulfilling work experience for all of your teams resulting in strong employee engagement leading to a more satisfied and successful team
- Be sure to understand the workplace’s mission and goals. By doing this you will have a clear and relatable environment within the organization where everyone can understand what their role is and how they contribute on multiple levels.
- Remember that not all colleagues are going to be authentic which is OK. This is not about hand holding it is about realizing that the reactions in the workplace are person-to-person. If you are authentic these interactions will result in stronger employee engagement.
Authenticity is absolutely vital to the success of any employee engagement program. When KangoGift is meeting with anyone we stress how vital it is because being truly authentic is very difficult. Still with determination and appropriate focus, it is very possible to be authentic resulting in a stronger relationship within the organization.