Want Engagement? Hold Your Managers Accountable!

In a recent article in BusinessWeek, Michelle Conlin wrote well on the link between employee engagement and the bottom line, citing examples from Campbell Soup, Best Buy and JC Penney.

But it’s her final point, based on an example from Stryker, a medical technology company, that is critical yet rarely raised in discussing how to create an environment in which employees can become engaged.
At Stryker, pay and promotions are based in part on the engagement scores of a manager's direct reports. That, in essence, forces the bosses to double as optimism ministers. Says Rude: "People get jobs and lose jobs because of their ability to engage teams."

The debate continues to rage on who is responsible for employee engagement – the company or the employee. I believe the company is responsible for creating an environment in which an employee wants to and can engage. Stryker has achieved a nice balance and clearly understands that managers are the front line for creating an “engaging environment.” Our strategic recognition approach strongly advises managers be held accountable through KPIs or MBOs to ensure they are actively, continually and appropriately recognizing employees for the behaviors and actions that demonstrate the company values in achievement of the strategic objectives. Managers should also be held accountable for encouraging their employees to recognize peers as well.

By fostering a culture of appreciation, companies also create environments in which employees understand the importance and value of their everyday efforts in the company’s success. What could be more engaging than that?

2 comment(s):

At March 19, 2010 12:34 AM, michael said...

Five years from now I am betting we have an entirely different set of parameters than we do now for what actually constitutes 'engagement.' For now the important thing about the larger conversation is that employers are recognizing the bottom line connection between an engaging workplace and the level of contribution they will elicit from employees. Who is responsible for engagement? I am not sure the answer matters as much as individuals understanding what they are truly looking for from an employment arrangement and employers exploring just what makes their workplace attractive to the workers they really need.

At March 19, 2010 5:01 PM, Derek Irvine said...

Couldn't agree more, Michael. Well stated.