January 12, 2015
by Jenny Watkins
A friend of mine recently popped the big question to his lovely girlfriend, and she is now sporting an enormous engagement ring. When I heard the news, obviously I was delighted for them. Embarrassingly, the words “Congratulations on your employee engagement!” came out of my mouth.
This clearly is a sign that I spend too much time immersed in the HR industry. That oh so popular buzzword ”employee engagement” is everywhere in HR articles, news and conversations. It is the new Holy Grail of management and leadership. I would never do anything so cheesy as compare my dear friend’s engagement to be wed to employee engagement in the workplace….
Or would I?
I can’t help it.
Here are 5 lessons happily engaged couples can teach us about healthy employee engagement in the workplace.
They Share Common Goals
In a healthy relationship that is heading toward marriage, two people begin to realize that their hopes and dreams for life are aligned. They begin to work toward the same goals. Maybe those goals include raising a family together, or serving in the community, or building a home together. In healthy workplace relationships, employees and leadership share a common vision. It is on leadership’s shoulders to make sure that everyone in the organization has an opportunity to understand the mission of the group — what are we trying to accomplish when we come into work every day? And in healthy workplaces, employees don’t sit back and let leadership own the goals. Engaged employees dig in and own their role in helping the vision come to fruition.
They Have Fun Together
Isn’t it sweet how engaged couples are always smiling? They love being around each other. They have fun together. So it is in a healthy workplace. One of the leading drivers of employee engagement is a positive relationship with managers and co-workers. It’s just common sense; if you like the people you work with, you’re much more likely to actually want to work together. Companies that foster employee engagement actively look for ways to build teamwork and encourage positive communication that leads to good working relationships.
Both Sides Put In the Effort
The relationship odds are not in favor for a couple where one party is putting in all the effort. If she never returns phone calls, or pays him a compliment…or answers the door, it’s probably not going to work out. It’s no surprise that if leadership doesn’t put in a little effort with their staff to appreciate them; communicate with them; let them know they matter, well, chances are employees aren’t going to feel like putting in a ton of discretionary effort in return.
They Accept that Not Every Day is a Bed of Roses
I’m no marriage counselor, but I contend that you don’t have a healthy relationship until you have learned how to have a fight. I don’t mean domestic violence. I mean learning how to express a difference of opinion and figure out how to work it out. Two different people are never going to agree all the time. In workplace relationships and personal relationships, it’s important to have open, transparent communication where both parties can understand each other’s differing point of view, respect each other, and come to an agreement on how to work together to move forward.
They Celebrate Together
Not every day is filled with roses, but some days should be. In a healthy relationship, couples set aside time to celebrate their milestones and their successes along the way. There’s a time for rolling up your sleeves and working out the daily grind. But every once in a while, happy couples — and happy workplaces — take time out to to celebrate and appreciate each other.