You want to develop an effective workforce. But at the same time, you believe that engagement is enough to keep your employees involved. Time to introspect, we say.
Every company wants to create an engaged workforce. But how many of them are consciously working to both engage and enable their employees?
In every organization, there are a few select people, who are completely committed to their work and their organization. These are those members of the workforce, who go the extra mile, above and beyond their roles. Not only do they produce work of superior quality, but they also demonstrate the potential to be the leaders of tomorrow. The key word here is ‘potential’. It is therefore, no surprise that organizations too want to leave no stone unturned, in their effort to retain this valuable talent. So what do most companies do to hold on to their high performers? Let’s see. I am sure you can think of the usual employee engagement methods. Surveys, training programs- you know. The works. After all, we all know that our workforce is our greatest asset, right? Wrong.
Organizations may think that they are doing enough by engaging their precious resources. But, here’s a fact. Engagement is not enough. Your efforts to engage your workforce are not enough. This will not keep them from walking out the door.
The ‘frustrated’ employee
Now that we’ve stated some blunt facts, here is an elaboration. Yes, ‘engaged’ employees are ‘motivated’ employees. But in the wrong environment, these valuable assets can end up as ‘engaged and frustrated’ employees.
Since, these employees are motivated, they do put in the extra effort to ensure they do a good job to match your expectations. But, here’s what we want you to pay attention to. What if you have a highly motivated employee in a mismatched, unsupportive environment? In this unfavorable situation, it’s only a matter of time, before the negative and harmful feeling of frustration sweeps in.
What do frustrated employees do? Break through, break down or break free?
In The Enemy of Engagement, Mark Royal and Tom Agnew identify three things that could happen with highly engaged, but frustrated employees. Number one- these individuals could break through the barriers in their path and reach their goals, through sheer perseverance. Number two- these high potential employees could break down in the face of the obstacles and simply reduce the amount of effort they put in. Or number three and the most likely of all, they could just break free and move on to greener pastures.
So, what’s the solution?
Here’s what we suggest. Identify the ‘missing link’ and do something about it. Engagement is not enough; employees need to be enabled too. To frame it in one phrase, think ‘engagement + enablement’.
Our extensive research displays that organizations are not focusing enough on ‘employee enablement’, which essentially involves creating an environment conducive for getting things done. Enablement could take on various forms, such as supporting employees in reaching their goals, removing needless barriers to productivity and ensuring that the right people are doing the right jobs.
The best recipe for success in the workplace is a combination of engagement and enablement. Engagement can help create feelings of motivation and commitment to the organization, and enablement will help sustain this.
Take the case of an online money lending firm, which was undergoing a massive strategy and brand change, during the time it decided to have an employee effectiveness survey done. The survey ensured that all the employees’ concerns about the changes were sufficiently addressed, by linking the effectiveness parameters to the key performance indicators of the business. The result? The survey confirmed that 49% of the employees expressed a desire to work for the company for more than 2 years, as opposed to only 27% of them just six months ago.
So, here’s what every organization can do to retain its talent. Study various parameters, such as performance management, employee empowerment, the availability of resources and training opportunities, the degree of collaboration present, and structure and process of the work. Only through an elaborate process like this one, will you be able to identify the barriers to employee effectiveness. And as we all already know, step one of solving any problem, is to acknowledge that you have an issue at hand, which needs to be fixed. Our first piece of advice- take the crucial first step.
Read more about keeping your workforce switched on in our Employee Engagement e-report,