Like capturing a unicorn or spotting Bigfoot wandering the Himalayas, the idea of employee engagement and corporate culture is just fodder; an issue for other companies to try and figure out.
“We don’t have a corporate culture issue, our company is great”
Is this real self-reflection or perhaps a misguided psychological repression of the real truth? Is your company truly building a highly engaged culture? The verdict is in, and the results are saying not so much.
When New York Times best selling author of The Carrot Principle and All In Adrian Gostick took the stage at 2014 NSCA Business and Leadership Conference he didn’t wait long to challenge the room as to whether or not they truly had engaged employees.
He asked the room full of more than 300 executive level business leaders if their employees are all in? Then he asked, are you all in?
After two years of research from over 300,000 business leaders around the world, he had some insights he wanted to share that have a direct effect on how our businesses perform. Perhaps best summarized in a single sentence: “It’s not a lack of intelligence that sinks companies!”
If not, then what is it?
Like a hunter seeking out its prey, employees can tell when their leaders aren’t committed. Simply stated by Gostick, “People can smell it if you don’t live it, breath it.”
In my experience leading businesses I have found this to be true far too often. Our world is full of distractions making it far too easy to get wrapped up in your business and lose sight of how you connect with your employees. While stepping away from time to time to garner insights such as those gained from Gostick today, on most days we are neck deep in what needs to be done now.
Always the “What” and the “How;” Gostick explained, but in the end the best leaders drive the “Why.”
People tend to know what they do and how they do it, but the best leaders are able to more closely engage their employees when they help them not only understand why, but help them to embrace it.
Going After Engagement, You Must Enable And Energize
Gostick takes the idea of engagement one step further by introducing the idea that engagement alone isn’t enough.
“Employees must also be enabled and energized.”
Personally, I couldn’t agree more, although I think they are sort of interdependent drivers. If an employee is engaged, chances are the way their leader has enabled them has been significant in the way the engagement has been built. Further that enablement and consistent communication creates the energy.
If I had to tweak ever so slightly Gostick’s model of Engage, Enable and Energize I would say they are the three keys, but they are 100 percent interdependent meaning you really can’t ever have any one without the other two.
Just to check, ask yourself this question: Have you ever met an employee who was highly energized and enabled but wasn’t engaged?