Ensuring that employees stay focussed, busy and enthusiastic about their work is now a very big concern for HR Managers and businesspeople. This is what has developed the employee engagement concept to the point it is today. I am an advocate of using goal driven measures for this.
As an HR practitioner or business person who is an employer of labour, it will be disheartening to you to find your staff sitting idle and not doing anything. In a bid to ensure that the employee is “working”, many employers have developed “tasks” for their staff.
There are four reasons why using task-driven employee engagement will not work.
It takes too much time to develop. Imagine having to create monthly task sheets for about 20 staff. What about organizations that have up to 1000 people as staff. It is a waste of productive hours.
It can kill creativity. When you create tasks for staff, many of them will just work on trying to achieve the tasks without having the big picture in mind. That will in turn kill creativity. This kind of engagement is not exciting.
It robs the organization of dynamism. Creating a tasks sheet for everyone in the organization will make work monotonous, flowing in the direction of the mental picture the supervisor had while creating that tasks. If he or she is a bad writer or a poor communicator, the tasks may be misunderstood. This can lead to wasted hours on rework.
It can sponsor procrastination culture in the organization. Imagine giving a particular staff their tasks for the month and something comes up that management thinks they must do now. Many people will say the new task is not on their tasks sheet for the month. They will want to negotiate that a task be removed to accomodate the new one or pushed forward to the next month’s. You don’t want that.
As opposed to task-driven employee engagement, goals-driven engagement is more engaging. It will definitely end up in tasks but the employee is involved in the process of creating the tasks and will have a sense of ownership of the tasks.
Consider the following scenario;
Imagine a manager who has something to achieve for the organization and gathers his staff together to discuss it. Everyone on the team contributes to the planning process and nomination/assignment of tasks is then done based on competencies. Imagine what that team will accomplish in a short time. Much!
That is it! They will be able to accomplish much!
This kind of employee engagement is the best because of how it works. Let’s take a look at that.
A manager is able to nurture trust in the process of engaging his staff in the planning and execution of a project. An extra important benefit of this process is that it will also promote team bonding. It will help every one on the team to feel important to the organization because they are able to air their views. Enhanced staff confidence and enthusiasm is a very important by product here.
When a staff is engaged in a goal-driven way, they are able to see the big picture. They are also able to understand why they are carrying out the task they have been assigned. It will also increase collaboration and communication amongst the staff. The collaboration will be the result of a staff trying to ensure that their own part of the puzzle will fit properly with those of their other colleagues to meet the ultimate objective.
The opportunity to participate in the planning process of a project is one of the importance of goals-driven employee engagement. Participating will do a number of things to the employee. First, it will enable them to learn from other people as they interact during the planning. Secondly, it will create an atmosphere for workplace mentoring as the junior staff are able to interact with seniour staff both during and after the planning.
When staffs are made to participate in goals driven employee engagement, they also get involved in assigning tasks based on competency levels and on job descriptions. Participating in this will not only as I said before enhance their ownership of the task, it will also help them to have a glimpse of how line managers come up with assigning duties. They will appreciate the dynamics of organizational decision making more.
As the project progresses, there will be review meetings in which progress is tracked, reports are collated and appraisals are done. Participating in these follow up activities will help the staffs to have a better sense of responsibilty. Their sense of accomplishment will also be greatly boosted as they observe a goal or project start from almost nothing and become something.