You can’t have employee engagement all of the time…

To expect all of your employees to be highly engaged all the time is folly – heading down this path could lead to future motivational issues. I get the feeling some would like to bottle employee engagement and instil it permanently.

Expecting an employee to go above and beyond (the ‘extra mile’) all or even most of the time is unsustainable. An employee cannot be in this state long term, quite simply, the employee will suffer from physical or psychological burnout.

The approach that appears to have the best results (based on our experience) is one where organisations work towards creating the right environment for engagement to take place. Levels of engagement will naturally ebb and flow and be subject to forces outside of the organisations control. But at least the organisation has created an environment were on the right day at the right time an employee may choose to put in that extra effort.

Regular feedback on the key organisational drivers behind engagement helps these organisations ensure that engagement remains a priority.  However, engagement is not mandated, it doesn’t become a KPI – it truly becomes part and parcel of the culture.  It just happens.

Many of our clients use pulse surveys to track and monitor issues connected with engagement.  It is not seen as an onerous exercise. Employees value an opportunity to provide feedback as they have seen the organisation take heed of the feedback and act upon it.

“…people clearly like the fact that their opinions count and that they’re listened to in terms of shaping policy. People often tell me that they’re looking forward to the next survey!”

Barbara Anne Nimmo, Head of Communications at THUS plc

Don’t look for permanent high levels of engagement.  Your employees will soon resent the fact that it has become the ‘norm’ to go that extra mile – storing up problems for the future. In fact, you may already be aware of your or other organisations where working late, evenings and weekends is expected – do you think employee engagement levels would be high here?