The Truth About Employee Engagement

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

In almost all leadership articles, books, podcasts or other media, the importance of #EmployeeEngagement is addressed as a top priority to drive results. We know that an engaged workforce promotes decreased turnover and employee productivity. I would completely agree with a focus on employee engagement but want to ensure that we focus on the right employee engagement. I have learned in my experience and in my research that accountability and character drive company culture and that employees feel engaged in a productive, inclusive and results-driven culture.

We underestimate the complexity of #culture by oversimplifying the concept to employee engagement and in addition see employee engagement simply as “making sure everyone is happy.” Employees certainly are the glue of any company (especially in a service industry) but they are really only one voice. Any company in business has one main function. To solve problems for customers. In order to do this, we must understand customers internally and externally.

Internal and external customers need to be identified and then asked about their authentic needs and expectations. When a company meets and exceeds the needs and expectations of its internal and external customers (including employees) business results are realized. So, this is where we start – understanding who our customers are, asking about their needs and expectations and aligning our work to meeting and exceeding those expectations. When we build accountability in meeting the needs of customers, we are building a company culture that promotes engagement for employees (internal customers who have needs and expectations as well).

When evaluating employee engagement as part of the internal customer (stakeholder) assessment, we will see leadership as customers of the employees as well. Management has needs and expectations of the employees as well as employees having needs and expectations of leadership. The external customers or stakeholders help drive the company’s ability to remain relevant to the industry and to the customers themselves. Knowing these needs and expectations of all stakeholders is the key to driving company accountability within its BASE Model. Click here to learn more about the BASE Model and the Accountability Gap.

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