By Bob Wiebe (Manitoba Representative to CCA/ACC Board)
As I have worked with business and not for profit employers, I have become aware of the concern about “employee engagement”. Organizations of all kinds want workers who do more than punch the clock and collect a paycheque. There is a strong desire to have employees who truly invest themselves in the company, going above the call of duty as expressed in a “dry” job description. Employers want employees to give a good part of themselves to the organization. “Engagement” is the term used to express this concept. One way to examine the question of engagement is to ask “how does one bring out the best in people at work?”
I asked my contacts just that question. The results were fascinating.
Persons felt that they themselves produced their best when:
* the people they worked for took a real interest in them, not only as workers, but as people
* the people they worked for took risks in giving them new responsibilities
* the people they worked for were able to balance between providing the employee with independence and offering help when needed
* the people they worked for treated them more like partners than employees
* the team they worked with provided a climate of support
My learning about employee engagement to this point suggests that in order to bring out the best in people at work, the employers need to bring out the best in themselves. This starts with personal investment in the organization’s people. Techniques such as incentives, reprimands, team building exercises, etc. all have their place. Without a real interest in the individual, however, these techniques fall short in bringing out the potential resident in the individual and the group. Even in the frenetic pace of organizational life today, the prime investment of the leader’s time is in caring about and caring for staff at the individual level.