Making culture a key driver, rather than an afterthought, will ensure greater engagement
If we want to propel our organizations forward — if we want to get the right amount of work done, in the right way, with the right amount of care — we must have high levels of employee engagement. Most leaders within organizations understand the importance of employee engagement. They know that when employees are not actively engaged at work, not only do employees suffer but the organization does as well. The struggle some workplaces have is turning this awareness into the right plans and decisions that increase and sustain engagement.
All too often organizations focus on the role of the individual employee when it comes to engagement as opposed to the influence of leadership or organizational culture. This view results in a belief that, when an employee is engaged, it is because they have a strong work ethic or good personal behaviours, whereas when they are not engaged the employee must be lacking in some way. With the belief that engagement is tied to the individual, one response is to rely on the “carrot and stick” approach that uses rewards (“carrots”) and punishments (“sticks”) to motivate others. This approach may work in some narrow circumstances, but more likely there are a variety of unintended consequences that can lead to more disengagement than engagement.