Keys to Employee Engagement: 3. Opportunity

So far, we’ve learned how to establish a Base Camp for our journey to engagement by ensuring employees have a clear understanding of their job responsibilities and by ensuring they have the resources they need to perform at their best.

The next four questions focus on factors that can really motivate people to perform their best.

The third question in the Q12 is “At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best each day?”

Square PegEvery employee has a unique set of talents and skills they bring to the job.  When the talents and skills a person has are aligned with those most valued in a particular occupation or job role, we would expect the employee to perform well and be happy.

Creative people are stifled when they are placed in roles that have highly regulated procedures to follow.  Likewise, someone like an accountant might feel lost working in a creative role because it lacks the structure they’ve come to be comfortable with.

Sales people are often characterized as being behind on reports, expenses – paperwork in general. Perhaps, in some cases, it’s because they don’t have strong skills in Excel or WORD to do these tasks efficiently. Assuming they’re great sales people, they are most effective and productive when they are in front of customers.  By overloading sales people with burdensome reporting and record-keeping, we are actually preventing or limiting them from doing what they are really good at.

As managers, we need to make the job fit the people occupying the roles so they’re doing what they do best. Ask employees what’s holding them back or making them most frustrated about their jobs and either find a workaround or a way of minimizing the time spent doing tasks they do poorly.

Training people to fit a job role has some limitations. You can train and develop skills but, if the talents required for the role are not there, no amount of training will fix this.  If you have to do too much fitting of the people to the job role, it may be a sign you don’t have people with the right talents or the job is not a fit for the people you have.  Either way, you have to change something.

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