How engaging is your business?
OK, August's over and everyone is reinvigorated by their holidays. Or are they? Many people return from their hols wanting a change - for some it's plans for the next holiday, a new partner or a house move, for others it's a new job. And if they aren't already, the journals, papers and websites will soon be crammed with new job opportunities.
Business leaders, too, often return to work filled with ideas for new projects, products or services following a period of relaxation spent doing something completely different.
One of the buzz phrases in HR circles at the moment is employee engagement. What is it? Well, the idea is that the more involved your employees are in what the organisation does, the more they enjoy what they are doing, so they become more committed and work harder. This, I am sure you will agree, seems logical. After all, no-one knows your business better than your own employees. But the bit that is often missing in my view is the other side of the coin - what the organisation delivers in return.
Yes, OK, there are the basics - the salary, the benefits etc etc. But what happened to the ‘psychological contract'? This is another HR buzz phrase - this time from the 80s - which seems to have gone out of fashion, particularly with the advent of more frequent restructuring, acquisitions and mergers which affect job security - another of the basics which is frequently overlooked.
The psychological contract is the ‘deal' that exists between employer and employee - it recognises the two way nature of the relationship and the importance of emotional factors such as trust and confidence between them. If either party break it, then appropriate action follows - the employee leaves, voluntarily or otherwise.
In your business how do you engage your employees and harness their emotional commitment to the organisation? How about joining up your ideas with the employee's desire for change? Find out who is up for a new challenge and put them to work on a project, product or service development - give them a bit of time and space to develop their ideas. Ensure that a senior manager is nominated as a sponsor, to provide a sounding board and route for any decision making needed along the way.
This approach will demonstrate your commitment to those people, their ideas, views and development. It will make people feel valued. It will help develop your business. It will also help retain your valuable employees, reducing staff turnover and the time and cost you need to incur in recruiting new ones. It clearly makes sense.
Now back to the brochures for ideas for the next holiday....