Business leaders around the world have arguably never been under so much pressure. There are so many priorities and so much at stake, and seemingly no common factor between them all.
Climate change. The economy. Technology. The modern workplace. You’d be forgiven for forgetting about good old fashioned business performance.
There is one thing at the core of this rapid change: your people.
Whether your business achieves all these different priorities will come down to the work of your staff, not yourself. They need to be skilled and capable - that’s fairly obvious - but critically (and less well understood), they need to be engaged.
At SenateSHJ, we believe employee engagement is going to be one of the most important factors shaping organisational success in the coming years.
The idea of engagement can be a bit of a unicorn in that many leaders find it impossible to capture. But if you look at one employee that’s engaged and then another that’s not, you’ll understand the difference and how significant it is.
Engagement means staff are passionate and driven to achieve in their work because it resonates with them on a deeper level. You might be lucky enough to stumble upon it with a staff member or two, but wholesale engagement requires a deliberate, strategic approach.
From a communication perspective, what does this look like? Fundamentally it’s about connecting people with a mission that means something and making their experience worthwhile.
- Truly understanding your people and what they think
- Being true to your organisational DNA
- Having a purpose that is clear, meaningful and directly connects to individuals’ work
- A workplace experience that creates value for people
- Building the organisational mindset to cope with fast-paced change and transformation
- Strong C-level leadership and communication
- Listening and responsiveness
- Clarity on and alignment with stakeholder priorities
In James Kerr’s book Legacy: What the All Blacks can teach us about the business of life, he refers to a quote by Confucius: “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.”
That involvement piece is huge for engagement. You can try to bring your people along with you, or you can give them a genuine say about the path you’re on. Having a sense of ownership for your mission and your values is extremely powerful motivation.
It all comes back to the way you communicate with your staff. It’s about creating an authentic connection to their work, and having people understand their role in achieving your overall mission.
With so much at play, and so many stakeholders to consider, an employee engagement and communication strategy can get lost. But those that make it a priority, and commit to living that strategy, will be the ones that succeed.