Employee Engagement- A Process that Starts at the Top

by Jody Ordioni

Employee engagement has been gaining traction for some time now in the corporate world and management of workforce. While there are many discourses that are happening within these narratives, the one that is often overlooked is the stratification occurring at the level of employee engagement. The emphasis for engagement is often at the low tier employees, while the higher tier employees at executive level are often ignored. This leads to the problem of a workforce that is highly engaged but there is no one to lead them.

For any organization, this is a grim situation. There is nothing more harmful than a team of disengaged leaders for a business. The solution to this particular problem is not difficult, since the exact tactics that are used to engage base level employees can be used to create an environment of engagement at the executive level. A reward system that acknowledges the success of engagement can lead to organizational success. Employee engagement is crucial for business organizations and it can be built through the following steps.

No Clarity in Job Profile

The executive leadership of any organization is imperative to the success or failure of any scheme that the company undertakes. However, most of the times, the companies are not clear in defining the employee engagement initiatives as part of the job profile. This leads to HR receiving the responsibility of creating employee engagements through various activities.

In many cases many employees below the C-suite might end up getting this responsibility. Such a practice can build an environment that neglects executive engagement. Engagement of the executive is important because they set the precedent for lower tier employees and even they are susceptible to engagement. Lack of engagement leads to the executive leaving the company which in turn costs the company 213% of the executive’s salary to compensate for the loss of knowledge.

Starting at the Upper-Level

It is obvious that the executives must be engaged. The choices the executive team makes is responsible for mitigating the outcome of the efforts of the whole workforce. The crackdown has to start at the level of the executives and it has to be determined whether they are in it for the long run. Any issues that are obstructing their commitment to the business- salary, profit sharing, or benefits- has to be addressed first. You might find the requirement to replace a member in a leading position. This task should always be undertaken before engaging the whole company.

Effort on Both Ends

The acknowledgement of the process of engagement as a two-way path has to be brought into the attention of the executives. If the executives are expected to engage the teams below them, they should also be made aware of the fact that the organization will reward them. It can be accomplished through a justified salary and lucrative benefits. However, these should be tied to key engagement metrics of performance, such as:

This assessment criteria is important because it reflects how well the leaders understand the nuances of engagement and inspire the people they preside over. It also serves the dual purpose of measuring the engagement of the executive employees. Change can only happen from the top-down.

The Bottom Line

If companies focus on the engagement levels of its executive employees before it moves down to the larger workforce, the organization will find more success in the long run. This is because the employees at the executive level are the ones that inspire the workforce to mobilize. To motivate other employees, they first have to feel inspired themselves. If this does not happen, any initiative will only yield lackluster results since there would not be a proper structure to enforce the working conditions. By prioritizing the engagement of executives from the beginning the company can avoid such pitfalls.

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