Guest Blog: Grassroots Employee Engagement

July 24, 2013 Kevin Kruse, Guest Blogger

Yesterday’s great companies were built on cultures of top-down directive management. Tomorrow’s great companies are being built on a culture of individual empowerment, peer support and crowdsourced solutions.

And when it comes to engagement, it’s critical to think about this paradigm shift. For example, whose job is employee engagement? Often in response to this question I hear, “HR owns engagement” or “our focus is on front-line managers.”

It turns out HR support and turning managers into leaders are necessary but not always sufficient ways to increase engagement.

What is often forgotten is the mindset and contributions of the individual employees themselves. According to IDG Research, 43% of engagement comes from intrinsic motivation, which by definition are factors that are completely outside the influence of company managers.

Just as employees are becoming more and more accustomed to the idea of peer-to-peer recognition, we need to also make them mindful of their own level of engagement and how they increase the engagement of those around them.

Employees need permission and tools to proactively partner with their bosses. If an employee doesn’t think the company is supporting her growth, she should hold a career path meeting with her supervisor to discuss goals and what it’s going to take to accomplish them. What individual workers need is the message that they actually have an obligation to contact their supervisor if they aren’t satisfied. HR should give them tools like model emails and “conversation starters” to help them navigate these conversations.

Fundamentally, employees need to understand their own motivation triggers. Research shows that recognition, communication, growth and trust are the top drivers of engagement. But what is the hierarchy for each individual? Early in my career, I may desire growth, while closer to retirement, the value of recognition is greatest.

To help people understand their own motivational triggers I developed an online assessment at that uncovers one’s personal engagement values.

This article is an excerpt from Employee Engagement for Everyone: 4 Keys to Happiness and Fulfillment at Work by New York Times bestselling author, Kevin Kruse.

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