We talk so much about engagement. So many times, after the pandemic from 2020, I hear people say, “That disengages me” or “That makes me feel disengaged and not motivated.” Although many people cannot clearly articulate what makes them feel that way, they are expressing an internal attitude toward several main elements of the engagement. As social and collaboration begin, people often work in groups and deliver results together. Yes, we all have our responsibilities, but what makes us feel one way or another is a reason that can be extracted from different work areas. Of course, many elements can engage or disengage us at every time, but still, if we look at all these elements, they can be defined into three main pillars.
Engagement with work
Looks easy to understand – right? According to Harvard Business Review material from 2020 – fifty-four percent of people use this as a first reason to explain their actions or in-actions at work. We are hired to do particular work. Maybe, in the beginning, this work was close to what we expected to do, but in time it has changed. Or even worse, it has not changed for many years, despite the environment’s needs. And one day comes someone who wants to change everything, to turn all the work upside down. No matter which of these two situations can arise – change or static in time, that makes us comfortable. People are different. Sixty-three percent of us stick to what we know best and are uncomfortable with change. Suppose change shows up on the horizon, creating a vast discomfort for us and making us uncomfortable. The same experience shows up if we are part of a group of people who embrace change and see opportunities for growth in every change that is announced or happening. For this second group of people, if the change is happening slowly or not, they start feeling uncomfortable. To change that feeling of uncomfortableness, the leader should choose a strategy where balance is vital and where there are enough opportunities for learning and development.
Engagement with team
This one sounds easy. According to Inc.com published article, back at the beginning of 2022, fifty-seven percent of people did not feel connected with the team they worked in. Does it sound like a huge number to you? Wait to see the number of people who feel disconnected from the organization. Teams have become a norm for working today. We have them all – in-house, cross-organizational, cross-industry, multinational, etc. But what many leaders see is that teams have become weaker than before. What has been distributed as a lite motive for teams to work is not more the cohesive elements that make them one. People today are more individualistic. They may work in groups, but most of these groups only connect them to finish a particular job. Personal life and individual needs are now more impactful than team goals. And Suppose leaders want teams to exist and deliver results. In that case, they have to build and sustain a culture of total flexibility, where the individual is king and team norms are created based on balancing individual needs. And that makes the work even more challenging because team values and standards are not flexible and discussional. At the same time, people decide to leave the team more manageable, based only on emotions and internal compasses for unfairness. And in this situation, someone may say that the employee is the king, but unfortunately, the sad truth is that teams suffer because of employees’ individuality. So what can a leader do to make the team successful? Building and introducing standards is the base for further growth. Widely spread, simple, and communicated openly, standards can save the team and connect the right people to it. What are the right people? – Those who share the same values, understand standards the same way, and are ready to accept team specifics as they are communicated.
Engagement with organization
This one is the hardest to build. No matter how a team is structured or how interesting the individual’s work is, connection with the broader organization is crucial to sustaining that partnership we call employment. Unfortunately, so many people mistake engagement with the team for engagement with the organization. I often see that people accept the work and team but disagree with the organization’s mission, strategy, and values. Engaging with the organization is more complex than engaging with a group or job. Why is that? Well, to be involved with the organization means, in simple words, acknowledging values, standards, processes, and setups as they are presented. The person may feel comfortable with the work; even if not, this is often easy to fix by learning or just changing the type of work. The team is a small cohort of people who are often hired to fit in with each other. In those two cases, the person severely impacts how things can be changed. At the same time, the organization is a complete ecosystem where small units (person and team) have to live by rules and expectations set by higher levels. Engaging with the organization is, in that words, more complicated because the person has to decide if they can or cannot fit in the environment created by others. The more the person identified themselves with the broader values and introduced standards and processes, the more successful and happier they are in the organization.
Difficult times call for flexible decisions. Today people work In centered around ideas and organizations full of induvial expectations. Often what we see and call attrition is not more than an opposition between personal and global values, standards, and needs. Even though people can choose their employer today, that does not make a choice more straightforward than before. On the contrary, the more things come into the case of choosing, the harder it becomes for a person to find their place. Starting with the evaluation of the work, the team and the organization can save the persona in the organization severe headaches and turn uncertainty and instability into successful cooperation.