Employee engagement is a choice that organisations make. They choose to embrace it, to prioritise it and to invest in it. Companies choose to do things differently because they understand the value that engaged employees bring to their business.
Employee engagement cannot be forced. It can only be influenced.
All an organisation can do is to create a culture and an environment where more and more individual employees choose to become engaged themselves. Employees make the personal choice to connect with the business because they believe in it.
As an HR professional, you’re going to need a lot of people on your side – especially with all of the choices available. This is where your influencing skills will be in high demand as embracing the changes needed to create a culture ready for employee engagement will be hard for some people. It’ll be a real change to their communication and management behaviour. Thinking of how to do this occupies a lot of our time helping clients with their employee engagement strategy at Reward Gateway.
The North Wind and The Sun. A story of influence and choice.
Thinking about this today reminded me of a story my Dad used to tell me when I was a boy. I remember it as “The story about the wind and the sun“, but it was many years later that I discovered it was one of Aesop’s fables (this one if you want to read it properly).
Anyway, here it is as I remember it from my Dad.
“One day, the Wind and the Sun were talking and both got into a conversation about who was the strongest. The Wind, bossy as always, was certain that he was the strongest, whilst the Sun, beaming and radiant was confident that she was the strongest.
“Look here,” said the Wind, “I’ll prove it to you. You see that man down there, with the raincoat and the hat? I’ll show you how strong I am by blowing the raincoat right off of him.”
“Ok,” said the Sun, “let’s see.”
So the Wind took aim and he huffed and he puffed and he heaved and he blew and he sent a gale down with all of his might. But with every gale and bluster from the Wind the man just pulled his raincoat even tighter. By the end the man was wrapped more tightly than the Wind ever thought possible, despite his hard efforts.
“It’s no good, it’s impossible,” said the Wind. “It can’t be done,” he sulked.
“Ok, I’ll have a go,” said the Sun.
And the Sun put her best smile on and beamed it across the heavens. She beamed, smiled and shone just as much as she could. And as she did, the man looked up, smiled and took his raincoat straight off.”
So have a think about who you’re going to be today. What could be the most effective way to act for what it is you want to achieve? Will you be the Wind? Or will you be the Sun?