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Written by Mike Gruley

Employee Engagement Is Like A Road Trip


“I just can’t seem to get my employees to buy in.”

I hear business owners say this to me all the time. Employee engagement is top-of-mind for business leaders these days, especially those who struggle with it. When employees are engaged, they’ll help your business actually thrive, not just survive. As the Upstate Business Journal puts it nicely: “It makes perfect sense. You spent countless hours and money recruiting, interviewing, testing, deliberating, selecting, and training that perfect employee. Now what? How can you ensure all that time and money doesn’t go to waste? You have to engage your people, plain and simple.”

Here’s five questions to ask as soon as you feel like employee engagement isn’t happening.

Have You Shared Your Vision For the Organization? Does your team know where you’re headed? Humans want to know not only where they are, but where they’re going. It’s like taking a road trip: If you’re sitting in a car but you don’t know the destination, when you’re stopping to go to the bathroom, or how long it will take, you’ll be uncomfortable and just trying to survive. In a company, that discomfort means that people will just do what it takes to get them to tomorrow. On the other hand, if you hand them a map and ask them for directions, the person has ownership in where you’re planning to go together and how he or she can help you get there. Destination is key. 

Are You Communicating Your Vision Often? By often, I don’t mean that you can be comfortable with saying, “Yeah, back in January we told everyone where we’re headed.” At least quarterly, you need to remind your organization of your vision and make sure they’re on board. If they don’t want to be in the car, give them the chance to hop out.

Do They Share Your Core Values? In other words, do they believe what you believe? If you’re sharing your vision with them, they might think, “That’s a clear vision, but the vision is weird. I might hear it and see it, but I’m not buying in because I don’t think that the vision makes sense.” This is where the EOS People Analyzer™ comes into play. You can use it to make sure not only that people share your core values, but that they continue to live them every single day along with you.

Are They In The Right Seats? Are employees doing the kind of work that they enjoy? Are they functioning well in a role that excites them and suits their talents? If they’re just doing the bare minimum to get by, they’ll lack passion and ideas about making the organization better through their individual role. Maybe they aren’t engaged in their current responsibilities, but they could really soar in another role.

Are You Taking Them On The Ride With You? Share your vision publicly to visualize not only the end goal, but progress along the way. You can never communicate a vision or core values too often. Your team should never need to ask, “Are we there yet?” If they share your vision and they understand when progress is being made or even if you’re stuck at the traffic light, they can react accordingly. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

If you feel like you just can’t get your employees to come along for the ride, these questions are just a starting point. Feel free to touch base with me any time to grab coffee or chat about how your unique organization can drive stronger employee engagement.