Labor Day Engagement

Posted by Marilyn Hoare on September 2, 2015

Capital Building


With Labor Day fast approaching, many of you may be busy making plans for one last summer excursion and not giving a second thought to the reason for the holiday in the first place. However, Labor Day is intended to be a celebration of the labor movement and is dedicated to the contributions and achievements of the worker. So what does this mean for us in talent management?

It is a prime opportunity to evaluate how fully engaged your workforce is and what you are doing to help them to continue to develop. Showing how well you value your workers and that you are invested in their future in your organization is a pronounced way to celebrate their contributions. By nurturing employees through well-defined learning programs, manager development plans, and assessments that are aligned with overall organizational goals, not only do you create a welcoming workplace where people are engaged, but a more productive and profitable workplace.

Gallup studies show employee engagement is on the rise and, hand-in-hand with this, so are engagement initiatives with many companies going so far as to assess their manager based on how well their employees are engaged. The link between top performing companies and a highly engaged workforce is becoming more and more evident as this trend takes hold.

As referenced in the Gallup study, Harvard Business Review offers some insightful tips on Things Great Employers Do (that others Don’t). While the companies’ success can’t be unequivocally linked to these items, they are without a doubt solid recommendations for creating an engaged workforce:

  1. Involved and curious leaders. We are basically talking about the trickle-down effect here. How leaders behave and their attitudes have a major impact on the company culture. They also model how each employee can continually develop and grow.
  2. Cracking HR functions. The best way for HR to help with employee engagement is to coach the executives and leaders on how to stretch and develop their employees.
  3. Basic engagement before inspiration. If you are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy, it may come to mind here. The employee’s basic needs must be met before they can be inspired to follow any mission. They must know what the expectations are, have the tools and resources needed to perform their duties, be well-suited for their position, and have the support of their manager. With this in place, they will be willing to follow your vision.
  4. Downturn is not an excuse. Regardless of how well your organization is doing, we all face the same issues during economic downturn. However, this is the time to foster employee engagement by being open and honest, communicating well and frequently, and by making swift decisions.
  5. Trust, accountability, and support. A focus on managers and their teams with the recognition that when a team is empowered to identify and solve their own problems, they are a much stronger team.
  6. Straightforward and decisive performance management. Recognition is a powerful motivator and turning a blind eye to mediocrity can erode that motivation even faster. Reward the behaviors you want and put appropriate consequences in place for the ones you don’t.
  7. Don’t try to engage for the sake of it. It’s not about the shiny perks and cool office spaces: it’s about creating an emotional connection with your employees. Focus on the activities that will help promote connection amongst team members and leaders.

Fortunately, there is talent management software, such as ours, that can help you tie all of these initiatives together in one place!