Friday, July 30, 2010

Make the connection

Senior leaders should take the lead on employee engagement - for the sake of the organization

With vast cutbacks and recruitment freezes on the horizon the delivery of services and meeting the high expectations of the public makes these challenges times for the civil service.

To deal with these challenges leaders need to tap into employee engagement. Employee engagement is a state of mind, a positive attitude where individuals are happy to channel their energies into the application of work.

Senior leaders play a vital role in cultivating this attitude and are in a primary position to set the culture and values of the workplace and provide the some of the conditions that foster engagement.

Be a role model and connect with your people

Take an active interest in your people. A few minutes building a relationship is time well spent. Involve people and give them the responsibility to provide input on the decisions that affect them. Be honest and straight forward with people and demonstrate the moral courage to deal with difficult decisions.

Wen things do not work out make sure you take full responsibility. Make use of all formal and informal opportunities to communicate with your people and keep them fully informed with what is going on in the organisation.

It is also important to lead by example and model the attitudes and behaviours you could like to see in others. It is easy to overlook how often people look to their leaders and pick up on their behaviours and actions.

Culture and climate

Provide the opportunities for feedback and consider and act on that feedback. Staff surveys are only a small part of this. Actively encourage people to voice their views and opinions and demonstrate an appreciation for this, and if employees suggestions are not feasible take the time to fully explain why.

Acknowledge people's contributions and reward people for their effort. Recognition can have an immense effect on a person. Highlight where mistakes have been made but do not chastise individuals for this. Focus on the learning that can result from mistakes. These actions help to create a workplace where people feel secure and valued.


People are often concerned with their own development. Committing to staff development shows that the organisation is prepared to invest in their people and values their people. You cannot rely on development budgets and training courses alone for this. You must provide the opportunity for people to apply and demonstrate new skills and knowledge. Development can be achieved by placing people in situations where they address new challenges, and can learn from others, as well as teaching others what they know.


Remind people of what the organisation, the department and the team are trying to achieve and where they fit into this. Create a line of sight from individuals' roles to the future achievements of the organisation and highlight the benefits for the public in meeting these goals. Make the effort to know what values your people hold and align these with what the organisation is trying to achieve and how the organisation is planning to do this. This can create a sense of purpose and pride in what people are doing.

This is about people, connecting with people, valuing people, supporting people and developing people. Employee engagement is related to many positive outcomes; productivity, employee wellbeing, and job satisfaction, just to name a few, and leaders cannot let this be undervalued in the current climate. Click here to read the full article.

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