We’ve written frequently about the value of employee engagement on bottom results (here and here, for example) and how to engage employees (here and here). The second part of the fifth category of the Baldrige model is titled “Workforce Engagement.” It asks about key dimensions of employee engagement including culture, performance management, learning and development, and career progression. It also asks “how you determine the key elements that affect workforce engagement?”
Lonnie Wilson has been teaching and implementing lean and other culture-changing techniques for more than 40 years. His recent article in IndustryWeek, “Find the Missing Pieces in Your Employee Engagement Effort,” provides some context for that Baldrige question by listing five key elements necessary to engage employees—and keep them engaged:
- A sense of meaningfulness. Wilson poses a Baldrige-esque question: “Do [employees] understand the company mission and vision to represent a company that seeks to be competitive, thriving, growing, a company that not only makes money but gives back to the employees and it a good corporate citizen?” And do they believe their jobs serve that mission and vision?
- A sense of control. Do employees have ways to control what and how they do things or do they check their brains at the door every day?
- A sense of accomplishment. Can employees codify and quantify their contribution? Can they answer the question: “How did I (we) do today?”
- A sense of growth. Do employees have ways to learn, grow, and contribute as individuals? Do they have hope for future opportunities?
- A sense of community. Do employees feel like part of the team? Are they proud to tell people where they work?
Wilson offers four suggestions for feeding his five elements: (1) create and live your company mission and vision; (2) create goals, and metrics for those goals, that properly reflect all of the vision and mission; (3) provide the support needed at each level; and, (4) make the goals and metrics “transparent.”
“If you find the list of four suggestions above not very earthshaking…neither do I,” writes Wilson. “This thing that many call motivation, I simply call good management.”
To learn more about how to apply good management to workforce engagement, take a few minutes to read the questions for 5.2 Workforce Engagement in the 2011-2012 Criteria for Performance Excellence.