Engaged employees feel a real, personal connection to their company. They have a direct effect on productivity, so it’s important for leaders to understand the factors that help build engagement and identify the barriers that stifle it. In service industries, engaged employees can make all the difference with customers. Manufacturing companies are unlikely to produce quality products without the full commitment of engaged employees.
So what does it mean to be an engaged employee? Engaged employees know exactly what is expected of them. They are crystal clear on the behaviors accepted and the results anticipated.
Creating engaged employees means changing people’s behavior. Is it possible to change somebody’s behavior? Certainly, if you exert pressure and threaten punishment, it is possible to force someone to act differently, but the effect is only temporary. To get people to change from the inside out, you must start with changing their attitudes.
People change their behavior only when their worldview changes. This conversion occurs over time when it is fed by positive stimuli and allowed to take root in a new environment.
So what comes first, the change in attitude or the change in the workplace? Motivational sales guru Zig Ziglarwould say, “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” In other words, change your attitude, and you’ll do great things. Jimmy Buffett, on the other hand, might suggest a change in the workplace (or a “change in latitude”) will bring about the necessary change in attitude.
The normal change process goes something like this:
1. People accept a new idea as appropriate and possible.
2. Their attitudes change.
3. Their behavior changes.
It all starts with the acceptance of an idea.