Fostering a Culture of Engagement

Updated: March 26, 2010

Sounds great, right? So how do we get to this magic state of mind? Towers Perrin listed the top 10 drivers of employee engagement from their 2007/2008 survey:

1. Senior management sincerely interested in employee well-being
2. Ability to improve skills and capabilities
3. Organization's reputation for social responsibility
4. Employees inputs into decision making
5. Quick resolution of customer concerns
6. Setting of high personal standards
7. Excellent career advancement opportunities
8. Challenging work assignments that broaden skills
9. Good relationships with supervisors
10. Organization encourages innovative thinking

This is a great starting point for developing a longer term strategy to retain your best people. Fostering an engaging work environment means focusing on these 10 factors, and the good news is that many of them are inexpensive or even free.

First let's recognize that the factors above can be grouped into a few broad categories:

  1. Bottom-up Feedback - Engaged employees know that their voices are heard and valued. Although not every suggestion will be implemented, great employers solicit input from all levels of the organization.
  2. Professional Development - Whether it's formal training or a buddy system for mentoring, organizations that value their employees are always looking for opportunities to grow talent internally. Managers should work directly with their direct reports to create customized personal development programs.
  3. Organizational Values - No one wants to work for a company that takes advantage of people, wastes resources or destroys the environment. Publishing a strong mission statement that focuses on the customer and the values of the company helps people feel like they are part of something that adds value and benefits others.

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