It’s easy to make mistakes when adopting an engagement model. Building on this Framework of Influence (FoI) article, here are some additional tips about how to ensure your engagement structure works.
- Remember that engagement is leadership, and that it is the role of the leader to ‘take employee engagement […] to a cultural pillar that improves performance‘(1).
- Stay honest, credible, professional, ethical, transparent.
- Deliver the ‘Why’. Why there are changes; why their suggestion was not taken up. When you engage, engage fully even if it’s a challenging conversation,
- Work at that relationship. Bob may be hard work – but he also may be marked as talent, or at the very least his leaving would cause downtime/cost for the business. If he feels engaged, he’s one of the 37% of people actively keeping an eye out for opportunities. If he’s not engaged, then he’s one of the 56% looking, and if he’s actively disengaged he’s one of the 73% actively looking – and most likely being a toxic employee while he’s at it. (1) And in my experience, sometimes the actively disengaged are very comfortable where they are…
- Encouraging people to believe they have influence if you are not really going to allow any. Engaging will build trust, leading people down a path will result in loss of trust and disillusionment. It’s hard to come back from that.
- Opening the conversation if the decision has already been made. Any existing decisions should be outlined in your FoI from the start.
Moving the goalposts. If there is a big change (ie: the business changes direction) you must be very clear of ‘why’ changes are happening. Help people understand and you bring them on the journey.
- Avoiding the ‘Why’. Ever. No, people may not like what they hear, but they deserve a well-reasoned, professionally constructed and delivered explanation.
- Avoiding follow-up requests to the ‘Why’. Sometimes, people will have more questions and this is OK. We are all wired differently. Some people need more support than others to adjust – but adjust they will.