The problem is that employee engagement is something we all think we are good at; especially if we are at the helm of the company. The reality is that a lot of us kind of suck at it.
You’ve confused collaboration with micromanagement
Micromanagement is NOT the same thing as collaboration. I see this time and time again. Leaders get overly involved in employee tasks, and yet claim to be collaborative. If finished work still requires your final approval, or if you feel the need to get involved in every decision, then you are micromanaging. Trust your employees to do the job they were hired for and get the heck out of their way.
You won an award.
Have you ever talked to someone in a so-called “best place to work” only to discover it wasn’t? How did they win this accolade? This one still puzzles me (although sadly I do know of companies that bribe their employees). Congratulations if you have won an award, but real leaders would rather have the adoration and respect from their employees than an outdated plaque on the wall.
You only think about employee engagement once a year.
So you left your office door open last Monday; or HR planned the best holiday party ever in 2009; or maybe you let everyone leave 15 minutes early on the Friday before a long weekend. Yes, very big of you. But employee engagement is an ongoing commitment, not a one-time event.
You organized a corporate retreat—for your executives.
How nice. The people in your company that most likely already feel valued (at least in a monetary perspective) get to have yet another perk? Yikes. Nothing destroys culture more than the feeling that some employees matter more than others. Whether you are organizing a little BBQ, or brainstorming your mission statement, try to be as inclusive as possible.
You get rid of the ‘bad apples’.
Despite a controversial article on LinkedIn last month titled “Shoot the Dogs Early”, weeding out negative or underperforming employees isn’t really a solution. Consider what will happen when they leave. My hunch is they speak negatively about your company. Why not take them out for lunch, and ask them how they think the workplace could be improved?
You hired a bunch of yes men.
An environment of yes men is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, because they tend to agree with everything you say and do they are the least likely to voice concern if there is a problem. This leads to problem #2. Because no one is complaining, everything must be swell right? Sure this may be the case, but chances are there is always something that could be improved, especially in larger enterprise environments. Check in with all your employees frequently and attack any misunderstandings before they become real problems.
You think an employee survey is the answer.
So you got HR to send out an employee survey. Big deal. What are you doing with the results? I mean what are you REALLY doing with the results? A survey alone isn’t going to magically engage your employees. And if your employees do voice concerns in a survey, you will need to take fast action. Nothing is worse than asking for employee feedback and doing nothing about it. If you commit to a survey, then commit to doing something with the results. Make your workplace better!
How will you know when you rock at employee engagement? Look closely at your staff. If they are always looking forward to putting in extra effort, and are willing to recommend their workplace to others, you might be in the minority of leaders who rule at employee engagement.