What an Engaged Employee Should Look Like

Individual Coaching WorksIn previous articles, I have been focused on making and keeping commitments. I feel this is a critical component of success for every company and leader but too often we forget about what the follower’s roles are and how they impact an organization. The basis of our new PE-ER tool, coming this summer, is “Performing Excellence, Engaging Recognition” and we believe strongly that these attributes provide the basis for any organization.

However, it’s not just the leaders and managers that need to adapt and evolve to the changing workplace; it’s also the non-managerial employees. Dramatic changes in the way we work are being fueled by new behaviors and new technologies on a daily basis and this frustrates many.

Below are a few factors that I feel are necessary for employee engagement plans really to be successful and they are all focused on the non-managerial employees. But, keep in mind, you as a leader, can participate but you cannot dictate and expect them to work.

Keeping pace seems to be a major task for everyone today but here are five qualities that I believe the engaged employee needs to possess. And by the way, leaders need to empower them to so employees can adapt and embrace them.

They Understand & Embrace Change

Many employees have dropped into a comfort zone and are currently doing things in a familiar way. Many have used the same technologies and the same processes for many years. This doesn’t necessarily mean that those technologies and ways of doing things are the best for your company or for your people.

Today, millennials are the majority workforce in the United States. These are individuals who grew up using social and collaborative tools to communicate, collaborate, find people and information. Change is part of their world so everyone else needs to catch up at all levels.

This change requires new behaviors and new technologies; employees should be stepping forward together and embracing the change that is going to make their jobs and lives easier.

Like someone once said: “Life is about change, sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s beautiful, but most of the times it’s both.” Managing commitments can help handle change and PE-ER can help in that process.

They Become a Proactive Participant in Your Company

Today, as a leader one must be passionate, knowledgeable, and comfortable with sharing and communicating. Newer collaborative technologies are empowering every single employee within an organization to share their passions, interests, ideas, and feedback.

When someone cares about something, they should have the opportunity to become a leader and become a known voice of expertise on that topic within your organization. However, this can’t happen if they don’t speak up or feel limited by culture.

They can’t become a leader if they are scared of sharing their voice and opinions. This means using the new collaborative technologies that are available to them to get recognized within the company. Why should they only be an employee when they can become a leader?

They Want to Earn Their Autonomy, not Self-Direction.

Today, many employees have the ability to work from anywhere at any time, being autonomous is crucial. Unfortunately, there are still micro-managers out there that insist on watching their every move and reminding them to “get back to work.”

Engaged employees want to have this privilege and they are willing to accept responsibility for completion. It requires a great deal of trust is being placed on them so they can accomplish their tasks.

As an engaged, modern, employee they must be capable of executing on their deliverables whether they are in an office, cafe, or at home, this is autonomy.  Leaders must provide the vision and the why the engaged employees provide the how and when.

They Share, Teach and Empower

This was one of the key qualities for the modern manager but it’s also a key quality for the modern, engaged, employee. In hierarchical structures, traditional employees wanted to keep ideas to themselves to get credit for their own contributions. This model is no longer effective.

With the emergence of collaborative tools, ideas and feedback can easily be traced back to individuals within an organization. Sharing not only benefits the team but it also benefits the contributing employee and this is where PE-ER can help by showing tangible evidence of keeping commitments.

Peers and managers will recognize their can-do attitude and ability to lend a helping hand. Sharing can take many forms; they can share their ideas, feedback, what they are working on, documents, or anything else that they choose to.

By sharing, their team and neighboring departments will recognize their name. To be a modern leader you must empower your employees to become comfortable with sharing and helping others.

They are Detail Orientated and Focused

In today’s business world, we are often pulled in way too many directions. We are in meetings, we continually check email, simultaneously tweeting, editing a document, and IM’ing with colleagues.  With the proliferation of content and tools that coworkers and friends can “ping” us on, it’s all too easy to lose focus.

With emerging technologies, engaged employees must remember to focus on what needs to get done, priorities are still king.  This means being able to put people and messages into a priority staging area where they can revisit and monitor. PE-ER can help manage one focus on commitments.

In Summary:

Employees that are driven by intrinsic motivations will try to do these in any environment they feel can be a fertile ground for extending their values, principles, and desires to help sustain our world and build relationships in the process. However, if as a leader, you don’t or won’t empower the culture to accept, grow and encourage these activities, don’t count on your people to be highly engaged or to stay with you for a long time.

We can help you sort this out within your company.  If you are a solopreneur, looking to build stronger and longer relationships with customers or an entrepreneur looking to expand your business, we can help.  Sign up for PE-ER Updates at the Standard of Trust website, check my Transformative Leadership Group website or call me at 630-454-4821.