Start with the Individual before focusing on a Team
There is no “I” in Team – Are you kidding…that’s where it starts.
All of the rush these days is about Team Building and defining Employee Engagement based on how the team works together. Let me be clear….teams are important….employee engagement is critical…having a friend at work builds engagement…but are we forgetting about the individual? It’s my belief that stronger individuals make better team members. Stronger individuals are able to contribute and be more engaged.
Avoid Isolating Individuals
Matter of fact, I believe that pushing people into teams, team activities, making them attend company functions as a way to improve employee engagement can actually WEAKEN or DISENGAGE your employees. For those of you that had your company send the “team” to an outdoor adventure course for rope or pole climbing…was there at least a few that would not participate? And worse, some based on the peer pressure fought through the fear to avoid being singled out. What kind of team is that?
This kind of isolation, lack of respect for the individual…happens in offices and plants every day…sometimes team members are being branded as “not a team player”. Company parties, activities, events, “social” events…all pushed by leadership as acceptable if not expected ways to build teams and engagement – can and often do contribute to isolating employees.
Empowering the Individual
Now the question is, how do we connect, understand, empower individuals? It starts with listening to them…one at a time. Finding ways to connect with them. Bridge the companies “Purpose” with their own personal “Purpose”. Guess what employers? Most of your employees may have a “personal” purpose that trumps your companies “Purpose”. Now what? Fire them to screen out everyone that doesn’t share the company purpose as their own? Good luck with that strategy. It’s about alignment. HELP your employee accomplish their “purpose” and guess what….they will help you achieve the company purpose.
Discover Purpose Alignment
My suggestion…don’t hire or assign someone to be a “fun” ambassador but instead give an insightful good listener in your company, maybe the owner, CEO – big companies the whole executive team, the role to work with all of your hiring managers, people supervisors, to ensure that your COMPANY understands each employee as an individual, discovers their “Purpose” and give them one afternoon a month to connect with that purpose and let us know how we, the leadership, can help. Watch your team grow.
Two aspects of employee engagement to consider:
1) Emotion leads to Alignment
Connecting with your people on an emotional level is critical to empowering and getting alignment. In business the Marketing and Sale team understands that. They understand it’s about people and finding ways to connect with their emotion. Same for your employees. How? Check out Paul Herr, Employee Engagement expert, check this link to see how McFarland State Bank, building on a strong culture, is achieving exceptional results.
2) Information leads to Engagement, and a conversation.
Information is power….and alignment, awareness, feeling of being on a team. For years I’ve spoke about created structures that aligned Marketing with Human Resources. Similar content but different messaging. You don’t talk to clients like you would your employees – very different voices.
However, your employees want to hear, learn and engage about what your organization does. Turn them into advocates. Empower them to be. Give them a way to engage leadership. This communication strategy, engagement, can also work for other channels you may have – outside sales team, agents, consultants, and investors. Leverage your marketing materials, media, and create both awareness and engagement to be in the know.
If you are looking for a solution – think mobile – especially for diverse teams. This type of communication – short announcements, quick feedback – is ideal for mobile.