The study talks about students who are busy juggling school, family and work. These students don't have time to seek out study sessions or get excited about the school's bigger picture (sounds like our staff, doesn't it?). The conclusion: "Engagement doesn't happen by accident; it happens by design. Community colleges, therefore, must be deliberate and aggressively create opportunities to involve students so that engagement becomes central to every student's experience." Substitute the word "employees" in place of "student" and "company" in place of "colleges" and you get the idea. We've got to actively work to make engagement happen in the workplace, as well.
Lesson #2: Engagement matters more to some people than to others.
Some people need to be engaged to work at their best. Others work quietly, thoroughly and maintain a level of loyalty and engagement that seems to come naturally to them. The lesson here is not to look at your employee group as all one type, but to recognize that different people will have different needs for engagement, and will need different methods to effectively engage them in their work.
Lesson #3: Part-time people are often not considered in plans to increase engagement.
We all have part-time workers who fill out our schedules and help us adjust to the varying needs of our clients. Do our engagement programs consider their needs? Do they effectively draw in those individuals as well as the full time folks?
Lesson #4: Information is our friend.
Sometimes transparency in data and information is vital to building an engaged group. Do your staff understand your goals and progress made to achieve those goals? It's pretty easy for staff to see large monthly rents or fees, do the quick math, and come to the conclusion that companies are making tons and tons of money, not considering the real costs of running a business. Sometimes a little transparency in this and other operational areas goes a long, long way to increasing employee engagement.
Lesson #5: Look behind the survey results.
You may do regular employee satisfaction surveys - if so, you are to be commended. But taking the time to look behind sheer aggregate numbers may yield rich veins of information that you can use to strengthen engagement.
Next time we'll look at what the same study presented as strategies for improving engagement - excellent ideas and plans that we can steal a little from as well.