Sue Colton

Employee Engagement = R.E.D.

Employee Engagement – all I see is RED!

Some businesses realise they need to improve employee engagement and review the various reward mechanisms they offer to staff but are concerned about increasing costs. Some business owners feel their organisation lacks energy, motivation and sense of collective purpose and ambition. Some businesses have grown with people in the wrong roles, struggle with conflicts, performance and productivity issues.

And this is where I see RED. RED is how I measure the levels of employee engagement; my acronym that stands for Recognition, Empowerment and Development which I believe underpins a culture that will embed and sustain an employee’s emotional and intellectual commitment to a business and its success.

Having read much around the subject which has been so widely discussed, researched and reported over the years, to me most of the models devised, labels used, and solutions offered could be distilled into the fundamentals of these three concepts.

It may seem simple on the surface, but beneath each of these areas lies a wide range of organisational traits and practices to explore and analyse. Following on from these,  instilling various behaviours could result in making positive changes to both individual and organisational mindsets needed to engage employees more fully.

Give and Take

A common mistake is for business leaders to look purely at their own actions – what they do, what they offer, what they are saying. But employee engagement is a relationship. An exchange of what the employer does and how employees respond, react and behave. The aim should be reciprocity; employers investing in their people (not just financially but in terms of making sure they feel valued), with employees putting in reciprocal effort, and sharing the aspirations of their employers in return.

It’s about hearts and minds, not facts and figures

Business success is often measured purely by financial metrics. However, if businesses are serious about boosting their figures, they must engage the hearts and minds of the people involved in making it happen. From junior level staff through to the Board, collective alignment of the goals, vision and purpose of the organisation is essential. Being empowered to make appropriate decisions and being recognised as a valued contributor to the business’s performance is also critical. Having ownership and control over their roles, seeing opportunities to develop and open channels through which to contribute and add value are also vital.

Diagnosing Dynamics

One of the reasons employee engagement is difficult to measure is that a key part of it is based on feelings and attitudes. These intangible factors can be highly subjective. But proven, successful methods of better understanding individual, team and organisational dynamics do exist. Assessment professionals skilled in psychometric testing can test attitudes, traits and behaviours under normal and pressurised circumstances .

Carried out at the outset of recruiting new staff, this helps not only put the right people in the right roles, but also gives valuable information to line managers in how to most effectively lead and support individuals. Professional assessment can also play a vital role in promotions, identifying training needs, performance management and senior leadership/Board development. Improving the self-awareness of all team members enables better communication and understanding of each other every day and creates opportunities for reciprocity and engagement across all groups and layers of the business.

Creating a Culture

Prevailing attitudes and cultures can also be assessed, and businesses who take this step can see significant benefits. Feelings of being valued, engaged and motivated can be evaluated through specially designed staff surveys, geared to extract and audit the culture and attitudes in an organisation. Accompanied with expert analysis and recommendations, this can add invaluable intelligence to the leadership team, with advice provided on bespoke methods and practices needed to embed an engaged and motivated workforce.

RED is not just for big business

A common misconception is that for organisations to invest in improving in the area of employee engagement, they need to be a certain size. This is not the case. Making sure Recognition, Empowerment and Development principles are in place is just as important for ambitious, growing SMEs and start-ups as they are for larger enterprises. Engaged, motivated employees with aligned values, who feel passionate about the fortunes of their employer will be your biggest champions and ambassadors, with you through the tough times and celebrating alongside you in the good times. This should be the ultimate goal of the leadership team in any organisation, whatever the size of the workforce.

Get Ready

If you believe your business lacks collective motivation, drive and engagement with business values, you may need to see RED. By embedding initiatives that embrace Recognition, Empowerment and Development principles, employees experience a compelling purpose and meaning (motivation) in their work and by way of reciprocity, give of their discrete effort to advance the business’s objectives. A review of these principles within your business may highlight areas where subtle changes can be made without huge cost, to ensure your employees are on the same journey as you.

We are specialists in Employee Engagement, Organisational Development, Occupational Psychology,  Behaviour Assessment, Psychometric Testing and HR. She undertakes comprehensive culture audits that seek to improve employee engagement within all sizes of businesses.

Please call Sue Colton, Director of SJC Consulting on 0780 3137820 or email: