Fixing the Fatal Link in Your Employee Enagagement
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Fixing the “Fatal link” in your Employee Engagement
By Mark Wager
A common trend that occurs with Employee Engagement results is when the results show a strong connection within the immediate team level but a weak connection with the wider organisation. This can be fatal to an organisation because when employees only feel a sense of identity with their immediate team but not with the wider organisation it’s difficult to maintain alignment between the team's objectives and the organisation's objectives. Not only is it difficult for the employees but quite often the Local Manager to see the benefits of changing this trend. It’s often a mindset that we are doing our job despite of the organisation rather than seeing themselves as the organisation.
People crave a sense of worth and the need to feel valued. In today’s world, a person’s profession is often in my opinion mistakenly seen as a reflection of that person's worth. At any dinner party one of the first questions a new guest is asked is “what do you do?’' The answer to that question, whether it’s a cleaner, a secretary or a Surgeon portrays an image of what that person is like including the company a person works for, further reflects upon that person. Mention you work for Google and that again evokes positive imagery in your mind, a positive image that reflects upon the person.
People spend so much time at work each and every day. In a lot of cases people will spend more time at work than they do with their family. It's no wonder that a person’s position and employer reflects so much on their identity. When the employer's perception of the identity of the organisation is poor then people do not want those perceived qualities reflected on themselves so they create an emotional distance and it’s this reason that you end up with the ‘fatal link’.
Imagine if your organisation was a person, what type of person would they be, old, young? How would they dress, what would be their qualities as a person, professional, caring? Think long and hard about this and picture that person as clear as you can. Now ask yourself would you like this person? Would you like to be like this person? Would you follow this person? When a fatal flaw exists in engagement staff perceive the organisation to have qualities that they don’t like, wouldn’t want to see reflected in themselves and wouldn’t follow it if it wasn’t for other factors such as money, conditions etc. This is a serious issue which will eat away at an organisation if not addressed.
To address this issue you need to address how the company is being perceived. A common mistake is Managers believing that the perception of the company is based on its policies when the perception mainly comes from daily interactions. It doesn’t matter what a policy says when people do not see it happen in front of their eyes. Actions will always tell you more than words. In simple terms ask yourself as an organisation why do you exist and what do you stand for?
What are your values and how are they being demonstrated?
This may seem a difficult challenge and I’m not going to lie, it is, and it’s something that will take a long time to fix depending on how historical the issues are within your organisation but look at any effective marketing campaign and you will see this type of influence in action every day. As a way of example, watch the advertising campaign that Apple ran for the release of the ipad Air.
What images where provoked when your saw this advert, what did it tell you about the kind of person that owns an ipad air, adventurous, creative, innovative, passionate these are just some of the descriptions that I hear when I deliver employee engagement workshops to Managers. People identify with these positive qualities as they want to see them reflected in themselves so an emotional connection is built that goes beyond a simple purchase. It’s not surprising that not only is Apple successful but it’s customers have a high level of loyalty and trust in the brand so much so in fact Apple releases brand new products that it has no track record of producing, going from computers to music devices, from music devices to phones, from phones to tablets and to whatever next and no one questions if the product will work and especially not a single person who queues in line for the next apple product.
People create connections when they see positive qualities in a brand, organisation or person that they want to see in themselves. These connections create loyalty, trust and commitment.
Imagine what your organisation could achieve if your workforce demonstrated loyalty, trust and commitment in not only their immediate team but with the organisation as a whole.
About the Author:
Mark Wager is a Leadership Expert who specialises in delivering in-house training to Managers and teams that want to take their game to the next level. To contact Mark please use the enquiry form below or follow him on Twitter.
Posted: Monday 1 December 2014