How Do Transforming Organizations Boost Engagement?
Agile and transforming organizations have the edge over static organizations, as they consistently apply a number of strategies to boost the level of engagement with their managers and employees. Some helpful strategies to boost engagement in your organization:
Transformation is an Adventure
Transformation projects should be presented to employees as something different, an adventure, so they are easily distinguishable from other high priority projects. This prevents transformation projects from being confused with business plans and targets. Furthermore, a project presented as an adventure creates an extra buzz that comes with the opportunity of doing something important and different. The outcome is that management and employees become more invested and committed to the transformation project.
Pursuing a big project that is different from their regular corporate lives, is sure to excite people. Playing a part in the survival of their company or organization, reshaping their industry, or redefining the client experience etc. gives a sense of responsibility and importance that they may not get with their day-to-day duties. Organization leaders should make the purpose of the transformation clear, so everyone involved knows WHY its success is important, and HOW they are expected to achieve it.
It is important that company leaders make sure their management and employees understand why this transformation is not just necessary but unavoidable. They should be made aware of the potential costs and ‘losses’, which are needed to make the project possible, and the benefits that it brings. Furthermore, it should be made clear to individuals, what they will get in return for their efforts, and what knowledge they will gain for future projects.
Reciprocation with Company Leaders
Reciprocation plays a key role in the success of transformation projects. Organization and company leaders want to have the enthusiasm of their employees and management. To achieve maximum engagement in the project, there needs to be some reciprocation from leaders. The more a leader gives of themselves, the more employees will feel like they are ‘all in it together’, and the more engagement leaders will receive in return.
Leaders should be willing to:
- Be honest about the difficulties of the projects, such as the challenged, assets, and weaknesses. This will make workers feel like they are being treated with respect, further increasing their willingness to engage with the project.
- Show personal sacrifice by putting some already established priorities on the back burner, as this demonstrates not only empathy but also a real understanding of the day-to-day dealings of your workforce.
- Recognize and remove obstacles to your workforce, so that they have the time and energy needed to drive the transformation. This support to their efforts will certainly encourage workers at all levels to engage more with the project.
- Join the transformation mindset by adopting the necessary changes to your own routine, and take risks to make the adventure that is transformation, real to the whole workforce.
The more involved a leader is with the transformation, will build respect, which will, therefore, increase engagement of all stakeholders involved in the process.
Invest Time Early
A dangerous trap to fall into the transformation process is impatience. Becoming frustrated with the pace of the transformation, and trying to accelerate the process, shows a lack of understanding of the challenges your workforce faces as the beginning, which will have a detrimental effect on their engagement.
Successful transforming organizations, invest time early on in the process to develop a dialogue with the stakeholders to address any questions or concerns, to ensure their engagement right from the beginning. Leaders need to be aware that the level of investment at the start of any transformation is varied, and that it takes time for all to be fully ‘on-board’ with a restructuring operation. Opening up channels, where stakeholders can have frank and honest discussions with leaders, is a key engagement tool. Being receptive to potentially controversial discussions early on may save months of resistance later on in the process. Giving stakeholders a voice, and a place to express their honest feelings without judgment will make them feel valued, driving their engagement.
Allow and Encourage Contribution
Keeping space open for stakeholders to contribute ideas on how to make the transformation a success can further encourage the engagement of the workforce. This will make managers and employees feel like it is ‘their’ project too, which will keep them invested, as well as willing to propose suggestions that could truly contribute to the transformation.
Leaders of successful transforming organizations will show trust in their workforce, allowing them to make decisions that will impact the project. Take a step back and let your team take the opportunity, there is no obligation to take their suggestions, but your workforce will appreciate that you are open to their opinions and that you trust in their ability to contribute.
Engagement is Vital
Engagement is of paramount importance to an organization, being the primary sustainable source of energy. Without it, transformation projects are at risk of stalling or failing altogether. Therefore, it is essential for any transforming organization, to create an environment that encourages engagement.