Engagement Pays Off
Companies with high employee engagement enjoyed at least five times higher shareholder return over a five-year period according to data from a Kenexa 2009 study. A Tower Perrin 2011 study showed that companies with high employee engagement enjoy 6% higher net profit margins. Fewer employees leave an organization when they are engaged.
The foundation for an engaged, culturally diverse workplace is based on trust and mutual respect for diversity of opinions and perspectives. In addition, members feel a sense of safety when their workplace has an outstanding reputation as a leader in promoting cultural diversity, corporate social responsibility practices, and ‘walks its talkâ€.
What is Employee Engagement?
So, what is an engaged employee? Let’s consider the following scenario.
Darrell generally likes his job as an engineer for the administration of a medium size incorporated city located in the southwestern United States. Darrell has been deaf since birth. Things go pretty well most workdays given his ability differences, but at times he misses important communications.
One example is the occasional impromptu hallway meeting outside of the director’s office. He and team members’ desks face the wall away their director’s office, so he usually doesn’t notice when the director calls out to the team for a quick announcement in the hallway. Once Darrell discovers that there is a hallway huddle, too often it is disbursing. He always asks at least one team member what the meeting was about and too often the response is ‘Oh, it wasn’t that important, I wouldn’t worry about it.â€
Darrell is left feeling a sense of not being in the loop and not important enough to be properly notified when such meetings are taking place. He admits that some days it is very difficult to get out of bed to go to work knowing that he may experience yet another slight. Do you think Darrell feels his workplace is safe and trustworthy?
You know that an employee is engaged when she or he is willing–even volunteering–to go the extra mile for the organization. This commitment is the result of feeling included, trusting that colleagues and supervisors are committed to helping each other, and a sense of respect for differences.
Characteristics of Organizations That Promote Inclusive Engagement
Darrell’s supervisor and colleagues are simply not compelled to consider his needs. That will only come from either a personal commitment or, more importantly, an organizational culture that demands and rewards inclusive engagement. Below is a list of drivers associated with an engaged, inclusive workplace.
It is crucial that organizations promote engaged, trustworthy, and safe work environments that benefit everyone. This requires developing a culture of inclusion beyond managing diversity. Managing diversity is limited to focusing on cultural differences in the organization in an effort to make certain everyone is included.
Inclusive Engagement goes one step further by focusing on promoting productive, collegial relationships among employees. Diversity education and incentives are put into place with the goal of creating higher levels of individual employee engagement.
Engagement does not happen on its own especially in a culturally diverse organization. It requires a commitment to and strategy for building trust, safety, and loyalty.
Darrell will work even harder for the city administration when his manager and team members understand that including him makes everyone’s job easier. Awareness is not enough. They also need practical, time saving strategies for working with a differently abled colleague. Creating a culture of inclusion and engagement is the only way to capture everyone’s attention and sustain efforts.
What would you do to increase Darrell’s sense of loyal and safety in your organization?
Kruse, K. (2013). Employee engagement for everyone. Center for Wholehearted Living, Philadelphia.