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Employee Engagement: It’s as Easy as 1-2-3-4

Employee Engagement: It’s as Easy as 1-2-3-4

/ People, , Culture, People management
Employee Engagement: It’s as Easy as 1-2-3-4

A simple, actionable 4-step plan for creating a sustainable culture of engagement.

I Googled “employee engagement” this week. Google delivered links to 970,000 websites in 22 seconds. 970,000.

I did some more research. There are 2,195 U.S. cities with populations of 970,000 or less.

What’s my point? You can get lost in data, especially on popular terms like employee engagement. You can spend a lot of money and time in meetings discussing it—or the lack of it—in your company. You can spend more time and money meeting with consultants who can craft surveys for you as a safe surrogate for engaging in conversations with your employees. You can study your employees or you can engage with them. You usually can’t do both. Scientifically, it skews the results. That’s known as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which relates to how we affect a particle we’re attempting to measure. But maybe you’re more a fan of Walter White and “Breaking Bad” than quantum physics.

But you’re in a call center. Your systems generate enough data and reports. What you need is a simple, actionable plan to help you inspire, ignite and instigate a greater level of discretionary effort, as one scientist defined employee engagement.

Here’s a simple four-step plan that creates engagement in the first step and data along the way.

Step 1: Ask

Step 2: Listen

Step 3: Act

Step 4: Repeat

Let’s go into the details.

Step 1: Ask

Ask your employees. Ask them:

  • What’s the biggest obstacle?
  • What’s the one thing we do that makes no sense to you?
  • What’s the one thing we can do to make our company better, your day better, help you reach your goals faster?
  • What resource do you lack?
  • What training do you need?
  • Who do you admire and why?
  • What do you like about working here?
  • What do you dislike?
  • How can I be a better managerdirectorcolleague/co-worker?

You get the picture. Ask them for their opinions. That’s engaging in a conversation. That’s employee engagement.

Step 2: Listen

Listen, that’s your role in this conversation now. You are the Listener. You asked a question. Now… listen.

There’s something very good for you in this step. By listening, you’re engaging. By listening, you’re connecting with that employee. By listening, they continue to engage. Do this enough times—like daily—and you have an engaged employee.

Listen and gather data. That’s their ideas, their issues and needs, and ways you can help them. That sustains the engagement in ways that are meaningful to you both. Conversations are not just exchanges of words. Conversations continue into actions.

This is critical. There’s no point to ask if we don’t listen. Even though we do it all the time, especially when we play with our digital toys while someone’s talking to us.

Step 3: Act

That’s right. Act on what you’ve learned.

  • Remove the biggest obstacle, or explain why it’s there and why it’s not an obstacle.
  • Stop doing what doesn’t make sense, or explain why it does make sense.
  • Do that one thing. Make it possible or explain why it’s not.
  • Provide that resource, or answer why you can’t.
  • Change that one thing they dislike, or explain why you can’t.
  • Make the changes they suggest, or explain why you can’t.

Step 4: Repeat.

Every day. Every hour. You’ll strengthen your relationships, deepen the engagement, learn as you go and mentor those around you, showing ways that they can engage with those around them.

That sounds like you’re bootstrapping a self-sustaining culture of engagement. That’s very good for the bottomline. And that’s something you can measure without affecting it.

Zane Safrit

Zane Safrit is the author of the best selling contact center manual, First, Engage Yourself

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