4 Levels of Employee Engagement

Cartoon businessmen with thumbs upEver despaired at your team members’ lack of engagement at work? Ever wondered whether your key employees leave their brains at the office door when they come in and put them back in when they leave? You’re not the only one! Many managers wonder how to get their team to actively share their creativity and their brains to drive the business forward.

There are basically four levels of ‘engagement’ that you can get from an employee. That is, there are four stages that an employee goes through when at work, and our role as manager is to encourage them to get to the highest stage through support, coaching and delegation.

Level one is where you buy their time by giving them a salary. They simply turn up for work, stay the whole day, do the job adequately and go home. They get a salary for giving you their time. It’s simply a transaction; you provide them with money, they turn up for work. It’s a good, basic start to engagement between the employee and the company.

Level two is where they ‘buy-in’ to the goals, objectives and vision that the company has, and identify with those goals so they contribute more to the overall effectiveness of the department. They understand why they are working there and are happy to support your goals as a manager and take their roles and responsibilities seriously.

Level three is where they show ‘ownership’ of results. This is when they take personal responsibility for hitting targets, achieving objectives and carrying out more than what is expected. For most employees, this level is satisfying and motivating as they achieve a lot more personal pride in theior work and drive toward building their self-worth and self-confidence. Results are good because they ‘want’ to do well rather than ‘need’ to do well.

The highest level, Level four, is where you get total ‘commitment’ from the employee. This is where they understand the company goals and where their role fits into them, they take personal ownership of the results they achieve, they don’t blame outside influences like customers, the economy or negativity for poor performance, and they bring passion, creativity, excitement and innovation to their work. They recognise that they don’t ‘do a job’ but they ‘manage projects’. They have an acute sense of pride in their work and a deep purpose in what they are accomplishing. They go beyond success in achievements to actual significance in their role. People notice their resilience to negative influences and identify that they are the ones to follow, even though they don’t have a high management position. This person is a leader, regardless of their position within the company.

How do you get an employee through these four levels of engagement? By being the kind of boss others would follow no matter what your position. Create the kind of atmosphere and environment that makes people ‘want’ to engage with you and the company. Individualise your motivation of each employee, find out what makes them want to contribute and encourage engagement in what the company does and stands for. Share the successes that the company achieves. Make employees feel they have a contribution to that success and identify what each one can do to take further personal responsibility for results.

That way, you will see people become more involved and more participative in the direction the company is going, and you will encourage them to run through the four levels quickly and effectively.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 2 April, 2012

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