• Joe Graci

Building an Engaged Organization

The engaged organization is the aligned organization. If we compare the human body to an organization for a moment, we can suggest that the head is leadership, the heart is its people, the organs are the functional teams, and its customers are the blood that flow throughout. We can also suggest that the organizational culture is the connective tissue that binds all the pieces together. However, there could still be something missing when you ask people if they are “engaged” in their organization.

What if the heart is near the legs, the liver is in the arms, and the head is up its rear?! Well, this is why the engaged organization is the aligned organization. Here’s a few key areas that need to be in complete alignment to build an engaged organization:

1. The right people in the right roles. This is the most important and if there are any mismatches, then you need to either change the people, change the roles, or modify the role to suit the person’s skills and abilities. It needs to line up with the company strategy, which changes and evolves over time, requiring a fluid process for assessing talent pools.

2. Consistently recognizing & rewarding people for their contributions towards “the mission”. Everyone wants to feel recognized for their achievements and it’s not about the value of the reward. It’s about the act of recognizing good work or behaviours that aligns with the company’s mission and core values as well as the person’s professional development mission.

3. Eliminate rating-based performance reviews and replace them with professional development reviews. The goal is to focus on how a person’s skills, abilities, and knowledge can be expanded or improved to contribute towards their professional mission statements that align with the mission of the organization. It’s not about the rating anymore, it’s about the conversation that takes place between two people about career roadmaps and professional development plans. Fostering a learning organization with regular “checkpoints” between Leader & Associate will ensure an engaged team.

4. Leaders are invested in their people’s progress from both a career perspective as well as their current role. This takes on many different forms and includes acting on feedback, setting clear expectations, removing barriers to success (i.e. red tape, championing streamlined business processes), enabling them to make decisions, and most importantly, investing in their training and development plan.

Building an engaged organization also requires the leadership team to be intensely focused on staying connected with their people and regularly communicating business updates as well as the company’s vision, mission, & strategies. Accomplishing this through a combination of regularly-scheduled 1:1’s, Town Hall meetings, and skip level meetings will ensure that the engaged organization becomes an aligned organization.

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