Three fundamental pillars of long-term team engagement.
High turnover can be detrimental to a team, especially when it remains high for long periods. That’s why it’s always essential to work out how to engage teams and avoid that moment when relations between the team and the company break down.
Engagement has guidelines and is a process that can be provided. There is a technique. Technique does not mix with emotion and, therefore should not be confused with motivation.
For example, that person who is always “wow, oooow, bora” may be excited or satisfied that an item on their agenda has been covered. But that doesn’t mean that they are engaged in the company’s long-term objectives; it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a commitment, a guarantee, that the involvement will survive the motivational ups and downs in any relationship.
The (extensive) literature on the subject highlights several essential pillars in the engagement process. Inspiring leadership, organizational culture, recognition and rewards, work-life balance, internal and external relationships, autonomy, purpose, working conditions… and so on. From our experience in the market, we’ve highlighted three fundamental pillars for starting a solid and steady engagement campaign.
The first of these (in no particular order of priority) is to maintain open communication. Communication is the basis of any human relationship. Any relationship. Open and effective communication is essential for creating an environment of trust and cooperation between team members and leadership. When communication flows freely, information is shared without barriers, making everyone aware of the company’s events, goals, and challenges. Of course, this type of communication also requires a high degree of responsibility. Open communication must be distinct from irresponsible and uncoordinated communication between the agents who spread the information.
Open communication makes employees feel valued and encouraged to express their ideas, concerns, and suggestions. This increases a sense of belonging and fosters a culture of constructive feedback, allowing for continuous improvement and mutual learning. Cultivate the habit of keeping those involved in the conversation throughout the process. Avoid creating parallel or segmented communication groups as sensitive topics arise. This is exclusionary and breaks the trust of those betting on sharing information.
The following two pillars live in constant intersections and are complementary. One facilitates the existence of the other: transparency and availability for tough conversations. In addition to the intersectionality of the two, they depend on a basic premise: in the corporate environment, we deal with adults. People in the information age have unrestricted access to data sources, conversations, and the exchange of experiences. “Protecting” the team from an inconvenient truth is a technique from the 90s. Transparency is a crucial component in building trust and credibility in the team. It’s a fact – allow the cliché to stand: people engage with those who create real connections. When leaders and managers share relevant information about decisions, strategies, performance, and even difficulties faced by the company, employees feel an integral part of the process. No suspicion or speculation (popularly known as gossip). On the contrary, it fosters an environment of responsibility and commitment.
When you open up transparently, conflicts and challenges are inevitable. Engagement will suffer if you are not available to talk about this with your team. Availability for tough conversations must be unrestricted, as it sets the scene for trust. You can’t only be available on sunny, blue-sky days. Sharing moments in tough conversations between leaders and staff will guarantee stronger bonds and greater engagement from everyone over time. Be prepared; this type of communication will generate friction at first until the space for connection between people and a safe environment is created.
Remember, in a corporate environment, you are dealing with adults in an age of unrestricted information at your fingertips. Facts can be checked, and information circulates regardless of your wishes. Being transparent, open, and accountable will help keep a team engaged beyond the occasional spikes in motivation.