Ok here in the HR blogosphere we all touch on the HR hot buttons – it’s required.  My last post looked at on-boarding.  So now, I am moving on to employee engagement,  specifically at smaller organizations.  Currently employee engagement is one of HR’s sexy subjects.  It is the subject of books and conferences. Many of the beautiful people in the speaking realm, pontificate often about the dire consequences of a failed employee engagement programs.   So those of us in the HR space sit up and take notice and want to do our very best with this. We do so because they tell us this must be done to keep all of our “A” players,  to keep them from running away when the economy picks up

I heard a term from my ProjectSocial partner Laura Schroeder the other day, she spoke of Diva Engagement – I loved the term.   Laura works in that realm where she is dealing with creative and highly educated individuals, and you can read about her prospective on employee engagement in that realm here.  For  the rest of us there is one problem.  What if your company does not have any of the darlings – really?  It seems to me in some smaller organizations there are the A players, but they will be A players regardless of what we do to feed them or starve them. I am not advocating ignoring or dissing them; but that’s who they are.  They are the stars who will always be in the game and if they are that good they will be there until they decide to do something else.  Let them know they are appreciated, smile at them and pay them as much as your organization can afford to do so.

Next, let’s move on to the “C” players, or as they are known in the space as the actively disengaged.  These guys are poo pooing everything.  Let’s identify them, call them out and isolate them as best we can and move on –my strategy here.

The last group I will call our presentees  a.k.a. the disengaged.  This is where we need to be working.  In a smaller organization you don’t have the dollars to spend on things that don’t produce results.  Accordingly we learn to spend wisely, where we can show results. This group makes up about 50% – 60% of the employees, depending upon whose surveys you find to be credible.  Let’s call it half of the work force – they come to work, do their job, cause few problems and go home, to return the next day. That is every day for them.

With the presentees there is still hope, but how do you get to them.  The best method I have found is through good supervision and management of them.  It seems simple, but if these folks are treated just a little better than the average employee, you can boost their level of engagement and their productivity.  It is little things like telling them thanks for a good job, thanking them for working overtime or taking the time out to ask a caring question about a family situation.  Treat them like your friends and they just might act like it. Those who study generational matters tell us Gen X & Yers are loyal to people and not to organization.  Knowing that, train your front line supervisors to be those people their employees can be loyal to, give them a reason to feel connected with them.  Start small, with one employee, try to make them feel important and needed.  Find a way to bring them into the fold – to be an integral part of the business.  Then start on a second employee.

So in a little over 600 words I have covered employee engagement and provided an effective, inexpensive strategy for managing your staff – sort-of.  However, it still might be a good idea to pick up a book or two, maybe even attend a seminar if you want a few more details.