Employee Engagement Requires Acts of Courage

Employee Engagement Requires Acts of CourageThis is an excerpt of a post that originally appeared on TLNT on April 23, 2015.

Employee engagement is not for the timid. Assessing and improving employee engagement requires courage from leaders and employees at every level — and that can be a challenge for some organizations. If you are working to establish a culture of engagement at your organization, keep in mind that you’ll need to start by fostering a culture of courage from the CEO down to frontline employees to ensure it’s effective.

Courage From Leaders

Don’t ask questions about employee engagement if you’re not ready for the answers you might receive. It takes great courage to ask employees how they feel about working at your company — but you can’t stop there. If you’re going to ask employees for feedback, you must also be ready to:

  • Receive it. When your employee engagement efforts are authentic, your employees will answer questions honestly and may tell you things you might not want to hear — or you’ll be surprised to learn. Prepare yourself.
  • Honor it. You’ve asked employees for their feedback, now thank them for it and show them they’ve been heard. Keep the interaction respectful and make it clear that you value their input.
  • Respect it. Any feedback you’ve received is worthless if you don’t do something with it. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have make all the changes employees want; it does mean that you have to show how you’ll leverage their input — or what you’ll do instead, and why.

Doing these three things helps establish respectful, productive conversations between company leaders and employees. Lynda Gratton has written about the importance of building adult-to-adult relationships in the workplace — having meaningful, two-way conversations where both sides respect ideas and opinions and share their opinions in a truthful and upfront way — and this is essential.

Too often, though, relationships in the workplace more closely resemble an adult-to-child relationship because leaders don’t honor and respect what they hear from employees, which leads to apathy and cynicism in the ranks. You’re all adults at your organization, so have the courage to ask for, receive and implement feedback — the way adults do.

Courage From Employees

In an employee engagement process, employees must be willing to share their true thoughts and feelings about their work and the company. If they don’t share honestly, it’s difficult to make improvements. Employees must ask themselves if they’re willing to speak on their own behalf, or if they’ve given up their voices.

Employees may feel that the fear of loss outweighs the potential for any gain they might make by being honest. If your company’s leaders have been punitive or dismissive of employee opinions in the past, or previous employee surveys asked for honest opinions that were then ignored, employees may feel they have nothing to gain by providing thoughtful, honest answers.

Want to learn more about fostering courage in your workplace? Visit TLNT to read the rest of this post.

Talmetrix is an employee feedback and insights solution that helps organizations better attract and retain talent to achieve business goals. Our solution makes it easy for organizations to capture employee feedback (feelings) and organizational data (facts) to discover actionable insights. With a unique combination of software, content, data, and advisory support we can help you measure and improve your employee experience. Contact us today to learn how your company can start achieving better business results.

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