Organisations rely on their employees to achieve results. Engaged employees are the engine of the enterprise that they work for and, in turn, employee care is essential to engagement. It involves trust, respect and wellbeing, spearheaded by the leadership – as explained in Seijts and Crim’s ten Cs for employee engagement.
The pandemic has been a strong disruptive force for organisations and for engagement. To keep driving employee engagement in the Covid era and beyond, we need to adapt and expand the key focuses of these ten Cs:
Leaders must show that they value employees. In the pandemic era, this can be further enhanced by maintaining open channels so that employees can approach their superiors to discuss matters in a mutually beneficial manner.
Leaders should provide challenging and meaningful work with opportunities for career advancement. It may involve re-skilling, up-skilling, or multi-skilling depending on the requirements of the organisation. It will be very challenging in the post-Covid era to match employee aspirations and employer reality, as organisational growth is required for people to take up higher positions or more challenging tasks.
It is essential to communicate a clear vision, which could be affected by the uncertainty created by Covid. This is why it’s important to share and support a clear vision, inclusive of employee wellbeing; build an awareness of strategic priorities among employees; and ensure that staff are clear about why they are doing what they do.
Leaders should convey their expectations about employees and provide feedback on their functioning in the organisation. Perform or perish should be the slogan in the post-Covid era.
Leaders give recognition to others – exceptional leaders do so a lot. Gone are the days of ‘employee of the year’, ‘quarter’ or even ‘month’. What matters is giving due recognition to the ‘employee of the moment’. The best way to do so is with on-the-spot feedback, with something as simple as a pat on the back or an appreciative comment.
Employees need to know how their contribution matters. This is key to motivation and engagement. It can be achieved by introducing transparent objective setting and subsequently connecting individual objectives to broader organisational ones.
Employees value control over the flow and pace of their jobs – and leaders can create opportunities for employees to exercise this control. Leaders need to set boundaries with the approval and involvement of employees so that they are a part of the decision-making process.
Teams with trusting and cooperative relationships outperform those that don’t. Great leaders are team builders and create an environment that fosters trust and collaboration. By doing so, they ensure that teamwork is given due prominence with associated mechanisms such as team-based rewards to strengthen it. Such teams can be either physical or virtual in the post-Covid era. Good hybrid collaboration will be essential.
Leaders should strive to maintain organisational reputation and demonstrate high ethical standards. Leaders should demonstrate ethical decision-making so that employees will respect the organisation. Credibility can be compared to a glass tumbler, where a crack can be irreparable; it is a binary concept – you can either be credible, or not.
Good leaders help create confidence in a company by exemplifying high standards. This involves practicing ‘walking the talk’ at all levels so that employees have more trust and confidence in their superiors. This has far-reaching consequences, including better relationships and results.
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