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Create an Engaged Organization

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 4, 2011

Companies with engaged employees outperform companies with disengaged employees. Obvious, right? Less obvious is how to create an engaged organization. Engagement begins when you make employee engagement your organization’s cornerstone. It leads to employees making the choice to join you. Follow these tips to get there:

1. Unleash talent. Your organization has talent in the wings. You just have to bring it on stage. "I love this place because they let me make decisions and back me up." This is how Chris, a checkout clerk, describes working at Best Buy. You unleash talent when you give people room to make decisions. You unleash talent when you challenge people to do more. You unleash talent when you include people in decisions that affect them.

2. Make employees’ goals your own. Early in my career my boss, Ed Torongo, told me that his goal was to help me succeed. I put in extra energy for someone who had my success as his goal. Making employees’ goals your own requires conversation. It starts when you ask them: "What is important to you at work and why?" It takes root when you help employees achieve it and it flourishes when you put employee goals on par with your business objectives.

3. Promote fairness. Everyone has a built-in fairness detector. When your fairness detector reads "unfair," you disengage. Unfairness shows up when executives give themselves bonuses while they lay off people. There is no excuse for treating people badly: Even if abusive people get results, don’t allow them to exist in your organization. When making decisions, put yourself in the shoes of those who will live with the consequences. Ask yourself: "Would they see this as fair?" Better yet, ask them.

Richard Axelrod
The Axelrod Group
Wilmette, Ill.

Reader Comments

Derek Irvine, Globoforce

February 7, 2011 9:53 AM

Great tip, Richard. I'd add -- recognize employee efforts such that they know their contributions are noticed and appreciated by the organization, reflect the company values in what they do every day, and help the company achieve its strategic objectives.

Doing so frequently and in a timely way reinforces for the employee exactly how they should be behaving in their daily work (in line with the company values), why the work they do matters, and they are valuable (and valued) members of the team.

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