Perspectives

Employees embrace strength-based work

A Boston Business Journal series

​We are all well aware that there are few dividers between work and personal time. It should come as no surprise to business leaders that many organizations are suffering from an engagement crisis.

Engaging employees

An employer’s perspective, as shared by William K. Bacic, New England managing partner, Deloitte LLP

In my last blog, I explained the inherent challenges in today’s constantly “on,” 24/7 business culture. We are all well aware that there are few dividers between work and personal time. Not only are employees hyper-connected, but many workers are part of global teams, likely requiring them to work additional hours, across multiple time zones. The work environment is highly complex—where some of us once worked with a team in an office, many of us now may work directly with fewer people and oftentimes it is for an organization where we may not strongly identify with. It should come as no surprise to business leaders that many organizations are suffering from an engagement crisis.

Growth, volatility, change, and disruptive technology are driving executives to update their underlying business model. Leaders should embrace new approaches to solving the people challenges that accompany these changes—challenges that have only grown in importance and complexity. My suggestion–jump into the fray; seize ownership of these challenges and show leadership in addressing them. Ultimately, employee engagement is driven by an organization’s leaders.

While many managers and executives are measured on the basis of business results, organizations should consider holding leaders accountable for building a strong and enduring culture, listening to feedback, and engaging and retaining their teams. Additionally, the old model of measuring engagement or culture annually does not work in a 21st century world. Seek out opportunities to move towards a more continuous model. You wouldn’t measure customer satisfaction annually. Why not treat your employees the same way you would treat your customers?

Employees at all levels are most engaged when their strengths are incorporated into their daily tasks. Leaders should take this into account and manage to strengths, not weaknesses. Research shows that a person’s best performance comes when they are given meaningful work that makes the most of their personal strengths and aspirations. Rather than simply evaluate people against goals, new performance models can help create jobs or move people into roles where they can succeed.

When a person’s job is a great match with his or her skills, productivity can soar. When business leaders enrich jobs, giving people more autonomy, decision-making power, time, and support, organizations are more profitable. As business leaders, we need to make sure jobs are meaningful, and our people have the tools, and autonomy to succeed.

It is clear that the employee-work relationship has changed. Business leaders should build organizations that engage our employees or we risk losing them.

To learn more about building an irresistible organization, and the importance of employee engagement, take time to read the Deloitte Review, “Becoming irresistible: A new model for employee engagement.”

engaging employees

Read a related Deloitte Insights article: "Becoming Irresistible: A New Model for Employee Engagement."

Read a related Deloitte Insights article: “Performance management, the secret ingredient.

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