With a faltering economy and concerns about not only jobs but the very viability of organizations it is imperative that we do not overlook the importance of employee engagement.
The state of ambiguity, uncertainty, and complexity is enough to have a disengaging impact even on those of us who are very engaged. Fear can supplant focus and worry can substitute for work.
Terrence Seamon started a forum on the Employee Engagement Network to discuss employee engagement in a downturn. I wrote a few comments and realized I compelled to write a detailed post because I have strong recommendations on this topic.
Terrence asked what managers should be doing to manage employee engagement during a downturn.
Here is what I initially wrote on the forum:
I think one of the big keys is not to respond out of fear. We are engaged because it benefits each of us: satisfaction, happiness, contribution, value, controlling what we can control, etc.. Sometimes engagement can help us not to worry but rather focus on the task at hand. I don’t think a downturn should be an excuse to stop engagement initiatives, it may be time to redouble the investment for the benefit of the individual, the organization, the customer, and the economy. So when we have an economic downturn we need an engagement up-turn to balance the social, psychological, and economic impact by doing what we can, with what we’ve got, where we are, to make a difference for all.
To build on what I wrote and to add structure to the comment I offered, I will write a detailed list of the important keys in part 2 of this post on Tuesday October 14th.