“Not another post about employee engagement.”
Hey, I don’t blame you for thinking it. If you do a Google search for employee engagement, I suspect you’ll come up with roughly 23,900,000 results. Give or take.
But this post — this post will be different than almost any of those. Of that I’m quite certain.
You see, within the scope of my work helping organizations create great company culture, employee engagement (or some synonymous term) comes up pretty regularly.
“How do we engage our employees?”
“How will we know if they’re engaged?”
“Should we go ahead and do a survey to find out if they feel engaged?”
First, let me say that I’m glad any time people are thinking about these things. It sure beats the heck out of those leaders and organizations who don’t give two shekels about their employees and how they’re doing.
That said, what I’m going to do — and I feel like I might be giving away the farm here — is describe for you the very first phase of my top-secret employee engagement formula.
Ready? Here we go.
My Top-Secret, Super-Duper Classified, You-May-End-Up-On-A-Watchlist-For-Reading-This Employee Engagement Formula
If you’re reading this on your desktop, pick up your mobile phone or tablet.
Ok. Navigate to this article on that device.
Got it? Good.
Now, with device in hand, stand up. Walk toward the door of your office or workspace.
Pause briefly. Double check your zipper. Don’t skip this step; I speak from experience.
[bctt tweet=”#EmployeeEngagement Pro Tip: Always check your zipper. #leadership #companyculture #hr”]
After confirmation that all is in order with your wardrobe, continue to the doorway.
Upon reaching the doorway, take a deep breath. We’ll get through this together.
Exhale and step into the hallway.
It should be noted here that you may encounter other humans in the hallway. The most important thing to remember in situations like this is to remain calm. Do not panic. I repeat: Do. Not. Panic.
(Pro tip: If you opt for a question as your greeting, as with “How’s it going?”, wait to hear the answer, lest it seem an empty question.)
[bctt tweet=”#EmployeeEngagement Pro Tip: If you ask a question, wait for the answer. #leadership #companyculture”]
With that exhilarating experience behind you, make your way through the department through which you find yourself wandering. Continue making eye contact and exchanging pleasantries with other humans.
Now, meander through the common area. As you do, be sure to take note of the sights, sounds, and general tone of the area. Are people talking? Is anyone laughing? (Pro tip: If people are indeed laughing, and if it occurs to you that the laughing commenced upon your entrance into the area, you may want to double-check the aforementioned zipper.)
Is it silent? Do people look busy? Bored? Tired? Frustrated? Happy? Determined? Annoyed? Excited? Mad? Indifferent?
Now comes the part that most folks want to skip over and go straight to an engagement survey (please don’t misunderstand — those definitely have their place).
You need to walk up to one of those other humans and ask them how they’re doing. Now wait for them to answer.
Depending on what they just said, engage them in conversation. You know, like humans do.
[bctt tweet=”#EmployeeEngagement Tip: Talk to people. You know, like humans do. #leadership #companyculture”]
Repeat this with others in the department. Stop at their workspace. Make eye contact. Ask them questions. Listen. Respond.
You know, like humans do.
Don’t expect them to spill the beans the first few times you talk with them. Spilling the beans — I mean, really getting people to reveal their deeper thoughts about their work, the company, even you — requires trust; and that won’t happen overnight.
[bctt tweet=”Real #employeeengagement requires real trust. It takes time. #leadership #companyculture”]
But if you repeat the steps above, and you repeat them often across your organization, you’re off to a good start. You’d be amazed what you learn just by having regular conversations with people, walking around departments, hanging out in common areas, and just going where the humans are.
So there it is. There for the whole world to see is my top-secret formula, my ingenious strategy, my elaborate engagement plan, my (tongue-in-cheek) first phase in the employee engagement process.