Too often companies fall short with engaging their employees because they forget that, in many ways, it is external influences that affect their performance. Instead of creating employee models centered on the work experience, employers should be focusing on the employees themselves.
What happens before and after the workday should be equally important to employers as they consider what happens during the day, as behaviors outside of the office strongly impact what happens at work. For example, if employees rarely spend time in collaborative activities outside of their families, perhaps that is why your group-minded activities may have fallen short–it’s just not something that employees are ordinarily asked to adopt.
Working to better understand what goes on outside of the office will enable you to better address the problems that arise within the office. If your group initiatives, recruiting strategies, and office perks seem to not be sticking, take the time to better understand how employees truly enjoy spending their time. Do they prefer a more casual setting? Are they comfortable in collaborative environments? Would they prefer not merging their work lives with their personal lives?
A Holistic Approach
To be successful, it is critical that you undertake a holistic approach to your engagement efforts. Doing so ensures that you consider the whole employee and not simply their work selves. Fortunately, this does not have to be an expensive undertaking.
First, dig deeper into the why behind the data you already have. Perhaps your early morning meetings are failing to measure up because employees have particularly long commutes, or maybe some individuals are choosing to forego vacation time because of other demanding expenses like childcare or medical needs. Then, find ways to adopt work values and a culture that is conducive to meeting the needs of the entire employee (not just the one you experience from 9 to 5).
Just as a shopper’s decisions about his or her wardrobe do not start and end in the clothing store, an employee’s decision to actively engage with his or her work is not confined to the workspace. Put in the time necessary now to uncover insights into the employee experience, and make the needed course corrections to improve.
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