Back to Basics – Employee Engagement

Posted on September 18, 2011 by Liz Cosline 1 Comment

So it’s being talked about. Again. Seems to come around every few years. The  reason? It isn’t solved yet and many business people feel it’s getting worse.  What is this illusive employee problem? It is employee engagement.

In the discussions on Linkedin and other places there are many different  definitions that have occurred about what employee engagement is and why should  anyone be concerned. The concern should be there because we are talking about  the people that take care of the customers. If these people (employees) are not  engaged the customers feel it and know it. This has been called customer service  but this is more than tasks.

Now I know that it is going to be said by some to have a committee look into  it, or let’s have a survey, or perhaps get into small discussion groups,  measure, and then a plan will be made. I know that things need to get measured  at businesses but there are times to just go back to basics. Managers can tell  from observation just how involved or uninvolved a work group is being. Much  like morale employee engagement is identifiable. Maybe managers might need a  little direction on what to look for but people have a sense regarding  interactions. At least enough to see that further investigating might be in  order.

The emphasis should be on the frontline and should be done through the  frontline manager. This manager is the one that will accomplish employee  engagement through actions and beliefs. Belief that his or her team is the best,  is capable, that knowing the team is crucial, and actions of praise, caring,  training, mentoring, coaching to name a few. But this manager needs to have the  tools, techniques, and mindset to get this done.

It cannot be accomplished simply through task driven activities. There must  be a relationship and the allowance for this manager to think, to defend the  team, to have the time to spend with the team, to give attention, to define the  common goals, and to be the professional coach. It is pretty common knowledge  that frontline managers get the least attention and much is expected. They have  the most effect on the frontline employees yet often do not have the freedom to  try new things.

Back to basics is what occurs when things have gotten off track and yet  greatness is what is wanted. The basics here are building a team, defining the  roles of the team, giving some freedom, training new mindsets, relationship  building, showing the importance of each role, getting rid of blame, thinking  how far a team can go, striving to make a difference, and putting incredible  energies towards the customers.

Engagement can be talked about forever and if history is telling that’s seems  to be what is happening. The companies that go after employee engagement are the  one I believe will be far ahead of the companies that ignore it. Polls have  already indicated that CEO’s are dissatisfied with the frontline from around the  world. There will be some companies that make the news on how they cared enough  to develop their frontline managers. It will be incredibly interesting to see  how it plays out.


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