Wikipedia defines employee engagement as, “a property of the relationship between an organisation and its employees. An "engaged employee" is defined as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organisation's reputation and interests.”
There are over 1795 results on Amazon for book titles on the topic. They talk about ‘pillars’, ‘fundamentals’, ‘frameworks’, ‘strategies’ , ‘rules’ and ‘guides’ for getting people to like their work and therefore get better results for the company.
There are a swathe of assessment tools to assess and monitor the engagement factor at work. Here are some from the Business Collective.
The employee experience is an extension of the concept. Forbes magazine listed ‘employee experience’ as the future of work. Volumes of articles have been published analysing how Google and Apple are so successful - is it the free food? The bean bags? The sleeping pods? All are innovative ‘employee experience’ strategies designed to make lives of employees easier and better, and therefore more productive.
I’m not against checking the mood and enthusiasm of employees. Nor am I against developing measures to track engagement to see what can be done to improve people’s interest and reward in their work. I believe people ought to be happy and fulfilled in their places of work! And I think its cool leaders put energy and attention in to creating a good experience and workplace for their people.
Here’s what I think works the best when it comes to creating and running a business that people love to be part of. Ready? It’s mind-blowingly simple and does not cost thousands.
The best strategy there is when it comes to employee engagement and experience is:
Give a sh*t about the people you work with.
That’s it. When you actually care about the human beings in your work world, you show up differently as a leader, and people feel it.
Giving a sh*t means thinking about them, caring about them as people. It means knowing what lights them up, what scares them, what they yearn for, who they care for, how they like to work, what they find funny, what fills their soul. It means looking in to their eyes and feeling their soul, and reaching out with yours. It means the small things are big things: saying thank you, asking with a please, interrupting with an excuse me. It means smiling with the message, “You matter to me. Not just to the company, but to me.”
Giving a sh*t means that you actively try to improve their life through their interactions with you and your business. It means you focus on how they can develop, how they can progress, how they can learn and feel they are growing. It means you put people first over product or process or results.
Giving a sh*t means you lead with heart and soul, and invite others to do the same. Show up like that, and employee experience and engagement is a default, a by-product of one thing: love. You love your people, they know it, and they love you for it.
How did you do? Do you give a sh*t about your people? How do you show it? What are your practices?