Developing a More Engaged Workforce to Thrive

By in Webolutions Inside & Out,

Denver business leaders have experienced a spectrum of employees who are fully engaged and those who have the opportunity to be more engaged. On Wednesday, April 18, 2019, Webolutions invited local leaders for a discussion on offering the best ways to enhance employee engagement, inspiring them to improve work morale and productivity within their organizations.

Defining and Measuring Engagement

Webolutions started the event by asking Denver executives: How you believe a high employee-engagement level manifests itself in an employee’s behavior? Right away, one attendee said it’s easy to identify which employee is highly engaged vs. those who are not. “The engaged employee don’t complain when they have to work 8 1/2 hours a day vs. 8 hours a day,” he said. Attendees also identified engaged employees as those who take the initiative. “Engaged employees cover each other’s backs,” said another attendee.

Other executives said Manifest high employee engagement by providing positive feedback. By providing constructive criticism and praise, Denver area executives said the leadership teams identify the right person for the right role in the right away.

Discussion then shifted into data and definition of engagement. One executive defined engagement in his workplace as “those who are involved in, enthusiastic and committed to their work and workplace.” But how does local engagement in their workforces measure up to nationwide statistics? We presented executives with some interesting statistics.

According to a recent Gallup Poll on employee engagement from a random sample of 30,628 workers:

Webolutions then asked executives to identify what has changed in the past year at your organization that you feel has created better employee engagement? “We have noticed that employees want to be challenged,” said one attendee. Another Denver area executive said employee engagement is also tied to the company purpose and enjoy what they do.

Driving Engagement Through Shared Values and Culture

As a leader, Denver area executives are responsible to create a compelling and motivating Vision to which the entire organization can connect and be inspired. We then asked executives to share how they are reinforcing a compelling and motivating Vision within your organization. “We let employees come and go as they please, so long as they get the work done.” Results are greater than time; however, there are also rules for leveling up an employee’s engagement. For example, one executive said if there are more than two email replies on the same thread, employees must meet face-to-face or call each other to discuss the issue. Another attendee said: “We don’t have to ask employees to do things; they just do them.”

This discussion then transitioned into how Denver area executives can gauge employee engagement. Webolutions presented the five drivers of employee engagement:

  1. Meaning: Your work has purpose beyond the job itself.
  2. Autonomy: The power to shape your work and environment in ways that allow you to perform at your best.
  3. Growth: Being stretched and challenged in ways that result in personal and professional progress.
  4. Impact: Seeing positive, effective and worthwhile outcomes and results from your work.
  5. Connection: The sense of belonging to something beyond yourself.

One attendee also pointed to Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” about the three qualities of work: Complexity, Autonomy, and a Clear Relationship Between Effort and Reward.

Creating a Culture of High Performance and Results

Company “perks” such as food, drinks, casual dress, flextime, educational opportunities and unlimited vacation are often cited as key factors in employee engagement. Yet, autonomy and growth are two remaining drivers for engagement. These are tied to achieving results, stretching and challenging yourself. They are also tied to responsibility, ownership and success.

How do Denver area leaders create opportunities that push people to challenge themselves and give the autonomy to succeed and feel that they are connected and creating impact? “Give employees the autonomy to grow and be better,” said one attendee. Some executives have removed annual performance plans. One Denver area leader holds congratulatory meetings where employees gather around every Friday and present compliments and praise for what employees did that week to go above and beyond their job description. One executive who has a remote team has said Slack has been a preferred tool to present the company vision and mission to its employees. All attendees agreed that no matter if a team if virtual or in-person, the most engaged employees are ones that tie into the organization’s Mission, Values and Culture.

Do you know executives for whom a Webolutions Executive Roundtable would be a positive experience, whose perspectives would be valuable for our attendees? Please refer them by completing this brief form or sign up for our next event.

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About Jack Schneider

Pueblo is the only city in America with four living recipients of the Medal of Honor.