How to engage your employees for better outcomes in safety and quality performance

September 23rd, 2011

Employees who are disengaged from their work can undermine the entire business, as well as colleagues and management within it. Making employees care about their work and feel accountable can be quite difficult, but with the right approach you can have an enthusiastic team working towards a common goal. Workplace deviance is closely linked to performance, so it is in your company’s best interests to read on.

Types of deviance
Different approaches are required depending on the extent of an employee’s deviance, from the minor intervention to drastic measures. Some disengaged employees may only direct deviant behaviour at one another individual in the workplace, however this behaviour can be either minor or very serious. The same behaviour can also be directed at the organisation, from things like taking long lunch breaks to destroying company property. Property deviance forms another sub-category of deviant behaviour, along with political deviance, personal aggression and production deviance.

Hiring engaged employees
Rather than trying to change employee behaviour, hiring individuals more likely to be engaged with their work can save time and effort. A high level of self-interest combined with weak work ethics is a dangerous combination in an employee, as they are more likely to work on personal tasks during office hours.

Making the workplace engaging
Workplaces that foster a caring and empowering attitude towards workers are more likely to have engaging employees. If staff feel as though they have a say in how the business operates, they will be more inclined to work well within the environment they have helped develop.

Creating engaged employees
Towers Perrin defined an engaged employee as one who devoted extra time, brainpower and energy to their work resulting in discretionary effort. The key to instilling these characteristics in staff is to generate a mutual contract between the business and the individuals. Building a meaningful workplace and ensuring all employees are equipped to perform their job will create a positive relationship between the individual and their work.

Giving employees the opportunity to develop their role and voice ideas will encourage them to feel involved and valued in the workplace. An engaged leadership and management team is essential, as they will communicate more effectively and build an enjoyable work environment. It is crucial this team maintain flexibility in understanding individual needs, and constantly monitor any engagement issues or poor performance patterns.

Poor leadership is a common cause of employee disengagement, so choosing the right

members for this team can have positive effects on the entire business. If a leadership team does not uphold its end of the mutual contract, they risk compromising employees’ trust in management and justice within the business.

Strong norms, ethics and a sense of right and wrong in the workplace will encourage positive engagement in the workplace, while discouraging deviance by causing it to stand out in a negative way. Investing time and effort in engaging employees early on, is sure to foster high productivity in the long-term.