Tuesday 12 December 2017

Follow 10 commandments and your employees will get a 'lift'

IN a previous article, I addressed the importance of enhancing employee engagement. But what can organisations do to increase employee commitment and lock in to their discretionary effort?

Researchers such as Ulrich, Towers Watson, the Corporate Leadership Council and Gallup, amongst others, have identified a variety of factors driving engagement. I have distilled these into '10 Rules of Engagement' which, when combined, can result in engagement "lift".

Enable Empowerment

Empowerment is the process of enabling individuals to think, take action, and make decisions in an autonomous way. If done authentically, empowerment leads to higher productivity and increased morale.

Organisations need to create an environment where employees are allowed make appropriate decisions in relation to how they control their work.

Nurture relationships

Good supportive working relationships with managers and colleagues are key components of commitment and workplace satisfaction.

Friendly and positive relationships are good for employees and good for business and these can be nurtured through team-building activities and social events.

Genuinely communicate

Engaging behaviours involve having good two-way communications with staff, providing clarity around expectations, listening and showing genuine empathy and demonstrating an active interest in people.

Regular communication on organisational performance and outcomes can engender commitment and alignment to organisational objectives.

Authentically lead

The role of the manager is a key lever in the engagement process in that they empower and facilitate their staff and it is vital that they treat them with dignity, fairness, respect and a genuine interest in their well-being.

Engaging managers also provide clarity around expectations, stretch the capability of their staff and support them through coaching to achieve their objectives.

Give recognition

Recognition for a job well done should not be underestimated as a motivator.

A good performance management system, with meaningful and regular discussion, provides an ongoing opportunity to foster engagement and commitment through recognition and reward and ensures that employees feel genuinely valued by the organisation.

Ensure a good work environment

The existence of a positive climate and a good working environment enables commitment and this extends to providing good working facilities, nice surroundings, and a genuine care of emplo-yee health and wellbeing.

Maintain trust

Organisation loyalty and commitment cannot be achieved without maintaining a climate of trust, honesty and integrity and this responsibility clearly lies with management and can only be achieved through openness and good communication.

Encourage feedback

Giving employees a voice, where they are given a 'say' in what happens in the organisation, and where their opinions are genuinely encouraged and responded to, constitute another key lever in the engagement and retention equation. This can be facilitated either formally or informally, but it must be genuine.

Nourish organisational affiliation

In order to feel truly committed people need to believe in something that is bigger than their selves even in a work context.

A strong affiliation and identification with the organisation and its brand can be achieved through a strong corporate value system, high standards and quality services and products.

In some sectors the nature of the work itself provides this affiliation and sense of shared ownership and a contribution to a higher purpose.

Train and develop

Employees need to feel that they have the opportunity to develop and progress in their jobs and careers.

Development may not always involve promotion but can extend to job enrichment, special projects, assignments and lateral moves.

While training budgets might be curtailed, cost-effective experiential training and blended learning also provide development opportunities.


The premise is quite simple really -- if organisations truly commit to their employees they will receive commitment in return, leading to higher engagement and retention and increased organisational performance.

Brenda Dooley is an executive coach and HR consultant. www.brendadooley.ie

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