Home Best Practices Want an “entangled” workforce?

Want an “entangled” workforce?

A lot has been written lately about companies developing an “engaged” workforce, meaning employees who are energized by their work and committed to helping the company achieve its goals.  In fact, I blogged about becoming a “winning workplace” a few months ago that touched on this subject.  In their book, “It’s My Company Too!  How entangled companies move beyond employee engagement for remarkable results,” authors Kenneth R. Thompson, Ramon L. Benedetto, and Thomas J. Walter suggest that a workforce can go beyond “engaged” to a higher level of dedication and commitment they call “entangled.”  They recognized that the word “entangled” usually carries a negative connotation (does for me!) but argued that in the context of their book, “entangled” is both appropriate and positive.  So I tried to keep an open mind, but I just couldn’t get there . . . by the end of the book, I was still cringing every time I saw that word.  Nonetheless, the book uses eight case studies to demonstrate the results companies can get when they engage their workforces at very high levels.  For more on “engaged” workforces, please read below.  If you want to read more on “entangled” workforces, buy the book.

In the first place, why should you be interested in an “engaged” workforce in anyway?  Maybe because it’s more satisfying to create a place where people are excited about their work and committed to the company’s goals than it is to preside over a sweatshop.  Or maybe you should be interested for more hardheaded business reasons, like:

•    Lower turnover.  It’s just common sense that people will stay longer at a place where they feel included as a valued member of a team than they will at a place where they are treated as just another employee.
•    Higher productivity.  When turnover goes down, productivity goes up because you’ve got experienced people doing the work instead of trainees.
•    Higher profits.  When turnover goes down, profits go up because you’re not wasting a lot of money on recruiting and training costs.
•    Better customer service.  Your customers will get a better experience with energized, committed people than they will from people who are just putting in their time.  Simple as that.

There are lots of other benefits to having an engaged workforce, but those should be enough to get your attention.

So where do you begin?  If you feel your people are not fully engaged, how do you create an environment that supports and nurtures a fully engaged workforce?

Since whole books (like “It’s My Company Too!”) have been written on this subject, it won’t be possible to give a full answer here in just a few paragraphs, so consider this the introduction to a series on workforce “engagement.”  Even spread out over several postings, the subject is too broad to cover fully, but hopefully we’ll be able to cover some basics and peak your interest to learn more.

Stay tuned for the first installment.  We’ll talk about the foundational piece of the puzzle that must be in place before any of the other pieces will fit.

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