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Your company’s engagement strategy—its approach to building a relationship with employees—is as vital in outperforming your competition as how you handle the financial, operations, and marketing areas of your business. The question: how to maximize that connection so that employees are inspired, motivated, and productive?
Traditionally, such efforts were company-led—a top-down venture where management surveys employees in order to create and roll out an engagement program. Often built around one of two appeals—the pursuit of a worthwhile cause (affinity) or the promise of a sense of belonging (affiliation)—they neglect the reality that successful implementation is entirely dependent upon front-line managers. As a result, they tend to be ineffective, limited by lower-level leaders who act as regulators rather than reinforcers.
In response, shrewd companies have begun using a bottom-up approach where employees are directly involved in creating engagement plans. Though somewhat counter-intuitive, it actually works well by putting power in the hands of the people whom it most directly impacts (autonomy). By inviting them to work alongside their managers to develop relevant and meaningful plans for employee participation, it stimulates heart and mind—creating a shared vision for establishing a satisfied and productive workforce.
The best engagement strategies include all three:
> Affinity—belief and involvement in a worthwhile, usually human, cause
> Affiliation—a sense of belonging, team, or family married to meaningful involvement
> Autonomy—responsibility and empowerment within a defined framework