This topic has garnered its share of studies and generated almost as many models. The same factors generally emerge as levers of engagement.
First, ensuring clear internal communications is important. Employees’ roles and what is expected of them as well as the organization’s mission, vision and values must be conveyed and understood. Remember, if you want to get somewhere you need to know where you’re going! Some suggest explicitly asking employees what they know to confirm their comprehension and, if necessary, make adjustments.
Competencies and resources
Next, competencies must be harnessed and relevant resources made available. Employees should be able to capitalize on their own strengths, fostering a sense of accomplishment and bolstering performance. When possible, you might even want to adjust job descriptions to draw on each employee’s full potential. To ensure that everyone can meet expectations, offering the support and necessary resources— the right tools, as well as time, training, mentoring, guidance, and more—is also important.
Involvement and contribution
Boosting engagement also demands employee involvement and contribution. When employees are involved in deliberations and decision-making processes, they’re more likely to feel that they can make a difference and have a hand in their employer’s success. The many ways to get employees to participate include surveys, focus groups and team meetings. In addition, a wide range of situations provide opportunities to benefit from eliciting everyone’s opinion, from a simple exchange of ideas for a team activity to brainstorming the organization’s strategic objectives and the definition of its mission, vision and values.
Recognition and affiliation
Recognition and affiliation also play an important role in employee engagement. Whether formal (awards gala, honour roll) or informal (positive feedback, bonus day off), employee recognition is great for engagement. Everyone needs to be thanked for their good work!
It’s also important to create a working environment conducive to positive interpersonal relationships. There are lots of ways you can do that, such as getting teams together for activities, drinks after work and lunch. Just chatting by the coffee machine can make a difference! Some managers think that friendships between employees can lead to wasted time socializing instead of working. That is simply the wrong approach. Employees who have friends and fun at work will be much more involved and more likely to be enthusiastic about going to work.
Confidence and fairness
Numerous studies, such as by HEC professor Michel Tremblay, have proven that confidence and fairness are essential for creating a climate of engagement.
Promote confidence by hiring managers who are reliable and honest, and who keep their word. Fairness can be expressed through, among other things, equity in wages and other benefits, task assignment, performance review.
The manager’s role
Since they are responsible for implementing all the engagement factors discussed above, managers have a key role to play in engaging employees. Their leadership and approach can truly make all the difference.
Human resources management practices
Always remember that you need sound human resources practices to implement levers of engagement. For example, job descriptions foster transparency, compensation and reward programs further employee appreciation, and an evaluation program promotes clarity and recognition while providing employees with resources. A human resources manager can advise and support managers.
Without a doubt, employee engagement is a significant asset when it comes to an organization’s success, especially in a context where qualified human resources are rare. Whatever the level of engagement within the organization, you must endeavour both to improve and sustain it.