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Our study “The Engagement Barometer 2015”, which we prepared jointly with the consultancy tatum, reveals that the level of engagement among companies surveyed stands at 64% and only 42% of employees expressed a high degree of engagement with their companies. This shows that companies still have a way to go to improve this.

When embarking on a process to improve engagement, it is important to bear in mind that this process must always be approached from the employee’s perspective and special attention must be paid to discovering how employees view corporate culture, job definitions, professional development, the value of individual contribution and internal recognition. In any case, we must always consider the specific circumstances and the maturity of our organization and how this echoes among our employees. Tackling a process of this kind by concentrating on, for example, internal social recognition during a merger or big shake up can have significant negative outcomes that in turn negatively impact the internal image of the HR department.

To develop a strategy for enhancing engagement, we have chosen to consider performance management as our go-to tool because this is something that can walk us through the entire process and from different perspectives: the employees, peers, HR and managers. Taking this approach, we can define the engagement relationship between employee and company in five phases:

  1. Performance Appraisal by Competencies – Do I fit in this company?

The company culture must be considered a competitive differentiator in the market.

Appraising core competencies allows us to get the employee’s perspective on the organization’s vision and values. It also strengthens this set of organizational criteria so that employees can become aware of what kind of company they are a part of.

An employee with similar values to the company culture will feel much more engaged that one in dissonance.

  1. Job Matching by Behaviour and Skills – Am I in the right job for my profile?

One of the most important aspects in the organization-employee relationship is assigning the employee to a job. The job is always associated to a set of functions and responsibilities, as well as a series of skills and expertise required for properly performing the work assigned.

Assessing how the job matches by behaviours and skills enable us to gain an insight into how the employee and his manager view the profile the organization generated for the job.

The most important aspect of a job is its function, which must be specific and differentiated. The notion that the functions for a given job are important and generate value for the organization is a positive factor for employee engagement.

  1. Potential and Talent Assessment – What professional growth opportunities are there for me?

Engaged employees want to contribute more to the company. They also want their extra input to come with an opportunity for professional growth and career progress. The organization must be aware of this and offer alternatives for career development and even graciously congratulate those who chose to find opportunities for promotion elsewhere.

Potential and talent assessment is the first of the evaluations in this process that does not come directly from employees themselves. If employees are offered challenging growth opportunities aligned with corporate goals, their professional capabilities or potential and with their goals for personal growth, then we will have highly engaged employees.

  1. 360º Feedback Appraisal – What can I bring to the organization?

The 360º feedback assessment type of performance appraisal provides the employee with a complete view on how he performs from all the peers he works with directly. This allows him to plan specific career development paths by detecting the top-rated aspects and which should be nurtured by the organization. Being aware that I can contribute more to the organization is a first step, but to be willing to offer it is already by implication, employee engagement. We must make sure that this extra step is not in vain; otherwise it will become a source of demotivation.

  1. Social Assessment – What recognition does my contribution bring in the organization? 

Upon entering the fifth phase of our process for improving employee engagement in our organization, we seek to foster internal social recognition as a positive factor for engagement with the organization.

Independently of our duty or position as an employee, there is nothing more motivating than receiving congratulations at the right time for a good idea or a job well done. If we as employees come this far to reach this point, we will find ourselves in a company whose values and goals we share. We’ll have a well defined job with clear responsibilities and specific functions with opportunities for internal career growth. We will have the necessary channels through which we steer the extra effort we are willing to make and this input is publically recognized within the organization, affecting how others outside view our worth. Under such circumstances, who wouldn’t be engaged at their work?

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Alfonso Mazariegos

About Alfonso Mazariegos

Alfonso Villalonga Mazariegos is a blogger focused on talent and knowledge management. An HR consultant at Meta4, a firm specializing in the implementation and deployment of HR solutions in enterprises, where he worked in customer projects covering recruitment, training, performance management, career development, benefits and time management. A veteran pilgrim of the Way of St. James and an avid football fan of Atlético.

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