Finding and Retaining Engaged Team Members
The findings of Gallup (our previous Instagram post) provide insight into the downside of employee engagement. Employees engaged are those who “know what to do” and “want to” do the job; employees disengaged “don’t know how to do” and “have to.”
Having to do the job and lack of engagement lead to poor job performance, decreased collaboration, commitment, and productivity in the organization. It disfavors not only the organization but the individual. The ideal is to have employees willing to come to work, understand their role, and connect with the organization’s values and goals.
How can we have engaged employees wanting to do the work and be part of the organization?
Let us understand first what drives employees’ poor performance and low interest. The Predictive Index has identified four forces of disengagement that pull down employees.
1. Poor job fit
A poorly defined job description and hiring process may select an inadequate candidate for the role. This can happen for several reasons, one of them may be that the job requirements are not well defined, and the “must-haves” are not specified by the organization. Or that the resume of the candidate may not reflect on the behavior and work style of the individual. For instance, you may have tremendous knowledge of the business process but the poor attention to detail results in a project’s failure.
The approach of the hiring process helps when it is holistic. By holistic, I mean to consider the whole person rather than putting emphasis on the hard skills such as education, knowledge, and experience. Identifying queues such as the candidate’s willingness to learn, attitudes toward teamwork, and the role in the organization provide us a better understanding of the individual that we are about to hire.
2. Poor management fit
At some point in our lives, we have experienced a good manager and a bad manager - felt engaged and disengaged. The relationship between the managers and employees is critical to the work. The manager has a substantial influence on their people. A great manager leads with inclusion, and communication and empowers the employees. A bad manager frustrates, disengages, micromanages the employees, and may even be selfish and choose favorites within the team causing competition. To succeed the organization needs leaders who are willing to invest time and energy in their employees, create a collaborative environment, and support and inspire the people to do an excellent job and perform at their best. Employees can also benefit from on-the-job training and mentoring. People are the biggest asset of all organizations, and it is crucial that there is a fit between employees and managers. A misfit can be costly to the organization and affect employee morale.
3. Poor organizational fit
Each organization has its own traits, behaviors, and approaches. Although not everyone is wired the same way, there are certain characteristics that people have in common that align with the organization’s strategy and end goals. It can be teamwork, honesty, energy, or others. There are organizations that need a slower pace at work to focus on the details of processes and precision. Other organizations require a fast and agile speed to innovate and promote new services and products. It is important that the employees feel comfortable in the organization’s environment, relationships, energy, team, and responsibilities. This sentiment of belonging motivates them to work beyond their duties assigned, add value to the organization, feel respected and appreciated, and leave work with a cheerful attitude.
4. Poor team fit
An organizational team is remarkably comparable to a sports team, where everyone plays a specific role in the team. Roles may be similar, and teammates complement each other to make a team an organizational success and/or increase the odds of winning a game. Employees and teammates that fit together know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, communicate their needs, understand each other’s roles, and collaborate to help each other. It is not only about individual performance but team performance. When a member of the team does not work as hard as the rest, does not trust others, is unable to communicate honestly, or refuses to collaborate, the team fails to deliver the work. To build a good team, the organization needs a team that works well together, and the manager needs to consider the individual drives and work styles of each member. One of the ways is to create a space for team-building activities to cultivate trust and relationships.
Employee engagement starts by selecting the right candidate for the job. To do so, a job description needs to be specific and accurate. The hiring process goes beyond hiring based on a resume, a holistic approach to understanding why an individual will show up to work every day is necessary. Employee and manager fit is strongly correlated with engagement. The manager style and leadership qualities are necessary not only to supervise and provide the tasks but to collaborate, communicate, inspire, and empower. The latter can even boost the company’s performance by creating and brainstorming innovative ideas, proactive communication, planning, and delivering. Culture plays a significant role in employee engagement. The workplace, environment, principles, and core values can make the employee comfortable or uncomfortable. The employee could adjust and learn, or they can struggle to fit in. As much as the management fit is extremely important, the team plays a significant role in employee engagement. Teamwork requires people to work together, efficiently, and productively. There is no team when individuals go their own way or are not interested in being cooperative.
Take a proactive approach to employee engagement. The Predictive Index tool can help you diagnose the level of employee engagement in your organization. Also, hire the right candidate for the role and inspire leaders to understand and motivate their team.
What is it that your organization needs to engage your employees? Is it job fit, manager-employee relationship, culture, or team fit?