PDF A Stake in the Outcome: Building a Culture of Ownership for the Long-Term Success of Your Business

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That might be a challenge given the structure of your company. However, one thing that can be done is to sit down with each employee and truly learn how they like to be communicated with, then do it. Adapt your style to their desired way of communication.


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This will be more effective than making them change their way. If you truly want to customize their experience, you have to work at it. Find out how they like to learn and then structure their opportunities to learn around that style. Seeing you adapt to their ways should increase their engagement because you have shown that you listened to what they said. As the arbiters of change, leaders play a crucial role in creating meaning for your people.

Conduct a degree feedback process to get a sounding board for the pain points in your organisation, then develop a plan to action these changes. Employees will be judging their supervisors on what they do, not what they say, in response to their feedback. Your existing workforce tells an important story about how effective your current talent management approaches are. Take a hard look at your employee turnover figures: retention is a litmus test for whether your employees feel engaged in their work. It may seem simple, but acknowledging and treating each employee with respect is one of the most meaningful things leaders can do to boost engagement.

Engaging employees is as much about giving them meaningful work as it is about creating an environment where they experience engagement on a daily basis. Higher-ups should lead by example and bring the same passion and energy to their roles as they expect from their employees. Employees need to constantly be challenged and upskilled in the workplace to keep them engaged. Embrace a holistic approach to professional development — from attending conferences to meetups and hackathons, let employees hone their skills in the way they learn best.

Instead of offering rigid learning opportunities, the key is to provide employees with the tools and opportunities for self-directed development. Succession plans make employees feel like they are headed somewhere, which is crucial to keeping them engaged in their role. Addressing these leadership roadblocks has been proven by industry-leading organisations to dramatically increase employee engagement.

Starting off on the right foot has a huge role to play in whether an employee feels engaged in their role. Onboarding and training is when employees learn how to properly do their job, and provides an important chance for them to engage with you, ask questions and clarify concerns. One SHRM survey reports that one-third of new hires leave their jobs after six months, which highlights the need for meaningful, engaging onboarding processes in organisations of all sizes. Properly training new hires is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure employees are engaged at work.

Consider implementing learning modules into your onboarding experience that walk new hires through everything needed to upskill in their role, through to important but dry compliance processes like Health and Safety training. You can use off-the-shelf learning courses for this, or create your own learning modules uniquely tailored to your organisation. This will not only help new starters assimilate into your company culture faster, but it will also help foster employer brand allegiance from the beginning.

Technology is one of the most powerful tools an organisation can leverage to develop employees and keep them engaged.

The Great Game of Business: Providing a Stake in the Outcome

Investing in developing your talent can make employees feel far more valued in your organisation than a bonus would. In a recent survey that looked to identify the drivers of employee engagement, close to half the respondents said they found meaning in their sense of personal achievement and thrived on personal challenge. Identify your high-performing employees and set them weekly, monthly or yearly challenges.

Let People Be Themselves

Gaining buy-in from employees can be the difference between a collaborative, agile business and an organisation stagnating in its old ways. The employees were energized, including some benefits:. Employees are being recognized without any Starbucks gift cards needed. Providing networking opportunities can encourage your employees to bring fresh ideas and best practice knowledge into the workplace. Introduce your employees through formal and informal networks both within and outside the organisation. Ideas include bringing together teams from different departments for a workplace lunch, organising internal hackathons or sending chosen employees to industry conferences or expos.

Through access to social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack or Yammer, people can support each other in knowledge sharing and problem solving at the click of a button. This increases overall job satisfaction and the ability to cultivate strong professional relationships. Recruitment coach Ross Clennett identifies a trifecta of factors that lead to employee engagement:. Then look at ways in which you can increase autonomy, ensure everyone is competent and show them the bigger picture.

This requires a culture change across leaders at all levels but is hugely worth the effort in increased loyalty and efficiency. These days, companies are a diverse blend of full time, part time, contingent, contract and flexible employees. What motivates a freelancer will be vastly different to what motivates a full-time staff member. A proactive leader might think about it in terms of the virtual talent warehouse , rather than a permanent workforce.

With the new capabilities that AI, cognitive computing and robotics will unleash, a new suite of solutions presents itself when it comes to bridging skills gaps. A work relationship is like any relationship. A bit of give, a bit of take. Ensure you have the tools in place that make learning fun and easy to access. Creating comprehensive training programs is not just crucial for keeping employees engaged and invested in their role: it also pays off. Almost no one washes their rent-a-car before returning it, but we do fill it up with gas.

Likewise, leaders need to avoid the short-term temptation to take away employee accountability for their meaning. Employees should feel like they have the agency to make choices that help them reach their desired outcomes. Did I do my best to build a relationship with my boss? To create a positive work environment? To earn my pay? To get along with my peers? Sometimes, all it takes is to find a role for this team member that makes better use of their talents.

Cultivating an environment that promotes deeper employee engagement takes commitment, hard work and courage, but the benefits will deliver the most outstanding results for your people and your business. Organisations can consider implementing the following initiative:.

Other Books by Bo Burlingham

Healthy minds lead to healthy business performance and productivity. The Australian Government is encouraging employers to invest in employee health and wellbeing. Their belief is that workplaces which adopt health and wellbeing programs often attract and retain employees and are able to drive better business performance. Supporting health and wellbeing at work could range from offering staff discounted gym memberships to hosting lunchtime yoga classes in the office. It could be as simple as replacing the biscuit tin in the team room with fresh fruit options. Collaboration is important for employees to feel included and engaged.

Studies show teams that share leadership responsibilities, interpersonal interactions and a cross-functional mentality have lower levels of conflict and stress, and higher levels of overall satisfaction. Encouraging cross-functional collaboration means breaking down internal silos and stepping out of traditional hierarchical team structures. Intrinsic in cross-functionality is the idea that anyone in the organisation can contribute their skills to a problem — regardless of their seniority or tenure. All employees in an organisation play a critical role in ensuring everyone is an engaged and contributing member of the team.

Fostering a culture of teamwork and problem solving encourages employees to think outside the box and solve problems within their teams, rather than relying on guidance from management.

Developing good relationships with coworkers is crucial to cultivating a sense of engagement in the workplace. Research shows us that the relationships an employee cultivates with their co-workers and supervisors has a direct influencer on their psychological sense of meaningfulness at work.

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This sense of personal meaningfulness and contributing to a team is crucial to foster employee engagement and motivation in the workplace. Two out of five employees feel that relationships with their co-workers are very important to their satisfactions, studies have shown. Encourage company practices that see workers regularly interacting and working with each other: this creates a sense of community and shared purpose.

These can include daily routines like standups with team members, messaging platforms like Slack and Trello that encourage cross-team communication, to company events like bootcamps and getaways. Take a holistic approach that acknowledges the importance of social responsibility in the workplace, and in life. Della Wolfe of business management consultancy service The Curve Group says empowering employees to engage with charitable activities at work is a great way to improve employee retention.

2017: Build high standards into company culture

Of the top three factors that contribute to employee engagement is the opportunity to contribute to the success of the organisation, according to a study on employee engagement conducted by the Penna Institute. In the study, close to half the respondents said that the opportunity to contribute to the success of the organisation created a positive work experience that led to personal development and satisfaction in their role. One of the most powerful tools for engaging your employees is creating a strong employer brand. Having a clearly articulated employer brand offers a sense of direction and adds meaning to each employees work.

That means organisations should take a holistic approach to attracting talent that allows them to build on their corporate reputation. Encouraging friendships and organic communities to form outside structured company events can lead to more engaged employees. Organisational psychology tells us that the more friends employees have at work, the more engaged they are in their role.

This is compared with an engagement rate of sixty-nine per cent in employees with 25 or more work friends. Encourage informal communities to organically develop within your organisation outside of formal social events. These communities will often naturally emerge if you step back and create the space for them to develop and flourish.

Long hours in the office are no longer the hallmark of a passionate, engaged employee. True engagement means meaningful, thoughtful work is being done. Often, allowing flexibility in the work week can be a way to achieve more productive output. Create a flexible work culture that encourages productive, focused work: not meaningless busy work. From flex time to remote work, sabbaticals and secondments, flexibility can keep your employees engaged and challenged. Google famously introduced the 20 percent program, where employees can spend 20 percent of their time at work doing whatever they like.

Studies have shown that employees with the most productivity are able to take effective breaks. In fact, statistics prove that the optimal work-to-break ratio is 52 minutes to 17 minutes. We spend a large part of our lives at work whether we like it or not so it makes sense to incorporate the interests we pursue in our spare time into our daily roles, where possible.

Account Options

HR professionals can take the concept of work-life balance a step further by encouraging employees to apply their personal interest to their day to day roles. People leaders need to establish a clear set of values if they are to attract a younger generation of workers which ranks ethics above promotion prospects when looking for new companies to work at. This idea can be used among team members who have high levels of respect and trust and are open to discussing their anxieties with each other.

An anxiety party is simply a meeting with fellow team members that goes like this:. Dealing with anxieties helps build relationships at work and also increases a sense of autonomy within the individual as they are less worried and more focused about developing themselves and moving forward — all important dimensions of employee engagement. We are constantly giving feedback as leaders and it can be easy to neglect asking for it in return. One HR professional, Tracy Russell, shared her approach to fostering employee engagement strategies in a recent interview.

While she was sharing tactics local governments used to keep their employees engaged, her advice has applications across multiple industries. Turn brainstorms into games. Encourage your staff to take advantage of any resource the office has to offer to light a spark or launch a business idea. Hitachi Foundation President and CEO Barbara Dyer , says thekey to fostering creativity is creating an environment in which it will flourish:.

But there is an important distinction between welcoming the occasional out-of-the-box idea and cultivating creativity as an approach to doing business. To complement group and individual recognition, it is sometimes useful to create a working environment that is rewarding in its own right. This encourages people to want to come to work and spend time with each other, while also strengthening the loyalty they have to their team and company. This creates support for everyone in building a culture of spontaneity and fun.

Improving the relationships between colleagues and bosses through these activities enhances employee engagement and team loyalty. How can you engage people in a few words? Colin Mitchell from the Harvard Business Review explains that internal marketing helps your employees develop a powerful emotional connection with your brand and product. He says mantras help unite people under a common sense of purpose, which in turn increases motivation and engagement. When employees are encouraged to take ownership of the company's Key Results, when they know the part they play has a larger impact, they engage in their responsibilities with more vigor and energy.

In contrast to accountability, a responsibility is something that is given to someone; a job title, a list of duties, and even something as simple as showing up to work on time are all considered responsibilities. Naturally, managers expect employees to live up to their responsibilities, but that should not be the only standard by which to measure employee success--much less employee engagement. A mere job description is simply not going to engage and energize any employee.

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With little control over whether an employee completes a task or meets a goal, successful leaders understand that real motivation comes from within; they spend time and energy shaping a culture that values ownership over crossing to-dos off a checklist. Some employees might be able to hit the ground running on day one.


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However, many will not, and even those few who find success quickly may eventually run into roadblocks that impede their progress. Good leaders make themselves available to reiterate deliverables, touch base with employees, and collaborate on a better way forward that aligns an employee's strengths with the company's goals. Encouraging transparent discourse during team meetings and other daily functions gives employees a voice, brings new ideas to your attention, and provides a platform on which new solutions can be conceived, tested, and refined.

Great leadership is about understanding and activating the strengths of the people you lead. Consistently seeking, giving, and incorporating feedback unifies the team's strengths and directs them toward common goals. A valued, listened-to employee is almost always an engaged one. Creating a great culture is about cohesion, alignment, and sustainable standards.

Encouraging longer-standing employees to coach new ones gives momentum to a cycle of engagement and team accountability. Offering coaching is also a great way for new hires to gain an understanding of the inner workings of the company, internalize Key Results, and feel included and valued from the start. Receiving an in-depth orientation of specific job responsibilities and company procedures allows for fresh perspectives to flourish among informed employees. The quickest path to employee engagement is not necessarily the expected one: personal accountability.

While a responsible employee does the work, an accountable employee finds meaning in the work. It frees employees up to focus on things that matter instead of the problems that surface when everyone is pointing fingers and blaming each other. Engaged employees understand how their work is connected to Key Results , that what they do matters.