How the Best Organizations Captivate People’s Hearts and Minds
Engagement is a hot topic in organizations today, and with good reason. Recent Gallup research shows that organizations with high levels of engagement outperform all the others in just about every key measure of business.
Organizations typically talk about the issue in terms of increasing employee engagement, but perhaps a more relevant way to describe it is building a “community of engagement.”
Think about some of the communities that effectively engage you: Your place of worship, your health club, a book club or another group.
What is it about them that makes you engage?
Resources, motivation and relationships—sure, they most likely offer all of these. But when you’re truly, actively engaged, there’s something more. The most successful of them, the ones that not only engage you immediately but keep you engaged over the long term, have created communities that make you feel valued. And that means you are able to be who you are, to engage as your authentic self.
We seem to view engagement in the workplace as a somehow separate human experience, unrelated to what engages us in other organizations, communities and groups. But in fact, recent research by Dale Carnegie Training has shown that feeling valued is the primary driver of organizational engagement.
Yes, resources, motivation and relationships are all important, but the most critical factor is the extent to which we feel valued—in other words, how well we are recognized and appreciated for who we are not just what we do.
Ultimately, to maximize our development and contributions, we need to participate in community with others who make us feel valued. Whether you want to build or find a community of engagement, here are a few of the hallmarks to look for:
1. People are valued for their authenticity. Some communities make you feel temporarily valued when you look a certain way, act a certain way or think a certain way. These communities don’t create sustainable feelings of value, though, because we never measure up all of the time. Build a community that allows people to show who they are and feel valued for what that is.
2. Growth and improvement amplify your identity. Professional development shouldn’t just be about learning skills and techniques, or getting coaching and training; it should also align with the drivers of community of engagement. Skill development should affirm the value of who we are and how we show up at work and in life – our unique style and strength. This helps us apply skills that engage ourselves and others with inspiration, enthusiasm, empowerment and confidence.
3. Culture is magnetic. Wanting to feel valued for who you are is part of being human. When the work environment—the place where we spend so much of our lives—fulfills that need, people are energized. They want to work there. I know from my own experience – having worked in both toxic and healthy companies. We want to be around other people who make us feel valued. One litmus test for this is whether or not customers say, “Your product or service is great but what I really love are your people. I always leave interactions with your company feeling good about myself.”
How does your organization make people feel valued for who they are, not just what they do?