Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Employee Engagement And The Workplace Environment

This blog from TNS quite rightly suggests that the workplace environment is more than merely “the physical characteristics that make up a workplace.” It goes on to suggest that resource supply is a critical influencer of employee engagement. I agree but think they could have gone a lot further and deeper with their point.

Hopefully, most employers are keen to create a productive workplace and go about the relatively easy task of setting up the physical space in which work occurs. Many things are highly prescribed by law such as workplace safety or incentifized by potential downstream costs such as using ergonomic workstations to prevent the costs of lost-time injury due to occupational overuse syndrome or whatever it’s called these days. They’ll install heaters, fans, air conditioning, legionnaires disease filters, white strips on staircase steps, adjustable chairs and so forth. Those things are tangible, observable and relatively easy.

Employee Engagement Is Influenced By An Interdependent Workplace Eco System

I prefer to think of the workplace environment as a bit like an eco system and I have worked in a few swamplike places over the years. But, of course, I mean eco system in the sense of non-obvious interdependencies. The physical, cultural, social and many other words ending in “al” aspects of the workplace combine to produce whatever level of effectiveness and productivity you’re currently enjoying (or enduring.)

No doubt, you may have someone who has it in their job description to make sure the aircon works and the chairs are adjusted, perhaps even one or more people whose job is nothing but doing those things. But whose job is it to make sure the non-obvious and non-tangible environmental factors are at least acceptable and hopefully improving? The boss you say? Sure, why not?
Me, I say it’s part of everyone’s job. If workplace leaders are hiring inherently engaged and motivated people and desire to create a workplace culture that nurtures genuine engagement, then those employees should have zero qualms about speaking up or taking action themselves. The boss can too (and should.) The boss certainly bears the ultimate responsibility but it should be everyone’s job.

Then again, it should only ever rain at night.

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