The following is a guest piece by Kevin Kruse, a New York Times bestselling author. His newest book is Employee Engagement for Everyone: 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work. Meritshare founders Kevin Nakao and Travis Pearl are listed as thought-leaders on in Kevin Kruse’s book, so we are offering a free Kindle download of “Employee Engagement for Everyone” through June 28th, 2013. We thank both Kevin Kruse and Vania Mathas for their support of MeritShare.
The work of MeritShare and others has proven that peer-based public appreciation is a powerful way to foster a culture of Recognition. But what about Growth and Trust, which my research indicates are the other two primary drivers of engagement?
How can we teach all employees to take ownership for their own engagement and even drive the engagement of their peers?
First, employees should identify and focus on the areas that matter to them most. We don’t all have the same motivational triggers, so we must teach employees to focus on the areas that are most important to them. The Personal Engagement Profile, available online at www.MyEngagementProfile.com, is one way an employee can identify their highest engagement values.
Second, we need to teach employees mindfulness—specifically, being mindful of all the things companies and managers already doing to drive engagement. Ask team members to list all the things the company is doing for them, in the areas of Growth, Recognition and Trust. When they’re done, share the complete inventory of all relevant items the company is providing. Often, your list is much longer than theirs, and an “aha” moment occurs when they realize, “Well, I guess they are doing a lot more on communication than I realized.”
Third, we need to teach employees how to partner with their bosses. Don’t think the company is supporting your growth? OK, have you invited your boss to a meeting to discuss your career path? We can help our individual employees partner with their supervisors in a positive manner by providing “conversation starters” and topic ideas.
It’s time for an honest conversation around the individual’s obligations to be engaged and to drive the engagement of others. The cynical view is that this is just pushing it all on the employee or this enables out of touch C-level executives to say, “It’s their fault not ours!”
As we are learning from the peer-recognition movement, you don’t need a title or direct reports to be a leader, and everyone can contribute to a culture of full engagement.