Inspiring Passionate Employees: Why “Employee Engagement” isn’t the Answer

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    Employee engagement is a phrase that is thrown around a lot and companies spend significant resources trying to improve engagement within organizations. We recently attended a conference focused on what HR professionals can do to increase employee engagement. Companies are looking for the latest tips and tricks to make their employees happy and love their job.

    In reality, employee engagement happens organically when an employee is truly passionate about what they are doing. Without passion it’s going to be darn near impossible to gain ‘engagement’ within the workplace.

    There isn’t a particular conference that someone can attend in order to gain the knowledge necessary in order to promote ‘passion’ within their organization. Passion is something that is driven by the employee only. It’s an emotion. It isn’t something that can be found in a ‘best practices’ book or in an article. The only way to have passion within an organization is to hire passionate employees. However, this isn’t an easy task nor is it something that will be achievable on every level.

    Rather than search for the most passionate employees, create a culture that encourages individuals to be passionate about their job. At the end of the day, the happiest employees are usually the ones who aren’t forced to sit at their desk 8-5, wear a suit and tie, adhere to a strict company policy, and report to a micromanager of a boss.

    Here are a few ways to create a passionate culture within the company:

    Give them a reason to be passionate.

    Make sure employees understand the ‘why’ behind certain actions. Fill them in on what’s going on within the organization.

    Don’t micromanage.

    This is where managers lose employees. If the employee is a competent, passionate person, they more than likely know how to do their job and do it well. They don’t want someone telling them what to do, how to do it, and then report back to them when it’s done. Instead, they just want to do the job they do well with a some guidance and moral support.

    Let them have a voice.

    Employees want to be heard. They want to have a say in things so when one speaks up, listen. What they have to say might be great.

    Follow through on promises.

    If a new hire had been promised a raise at their six month evaluation pending performance, then follow through on that promise. Don’t let the six month mark slide by and not acknowledge the agreement made at the start of their career with the company.

    Passion and engagement can straddle a fine line but keep in mind, passion is something the employee brings to the table. As an employer, uphold your end of the bargain by providing an environment that quenches the employees thirst.

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