HR plays a key role in raising levels of engagement among employees—but it's not the role that most companies assign.
HR can manage recognition and reward programs and engage their own department but if you want to be successful with a company wide culture initiative for building employee engagement, you need C level buy in to get the trickle down effect with all managers.
The CEO should be the Chief Engagement Office and executives and managers should be their disciples spreading the vision and reinforcing the mission. And CEO's you need to constantly reinforce your message to excite your ambassadors.
So, if you want to change things - you first need to address two truths - People quite their managers, not the company (most the time) and the #1 thing most people want is to be appreciated. So, if you want to stop people from quitting their managers (most quite and stay by the way = disengaged = poor performance), a good place to start is to have managers show a little appreciation to their team.
The only problem is some managers are horrible managers, to focused on the wrong things (aka short term goals) or worse, just horrible people undermining your efforts.
You may have heard about the "Peter Principle" which stats that every employee will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence. A lot of managers fit this principle.
The peter principle is not the main issue for disengaged employees. You may have good people in the managers roles but I think it is lack of time. Most managers are not just managers, they also have other full time responsibilities and sometimes managing people goes to the lowest of their priorities when they are just trying to get stuff done . But that still leaves most companies with an engagement problem.
So what is the answer - make recognition easy, and let everyone be part of the solution. The crowd is wise and it takes a village to raise a culture. Ok, I made that last part up but it is kind of true.
That is a great place to start. Put in a simple program and system that allows people to quickly and easily recognize one another for the great things they do. That says to everyone the company cares about their team and culture. With system everyone and hopefully managers will then find the time to recognize their people and reinforce values and behaviours that make your company great.
Recognition and appreciation is like a smile - it is contagious.
Thank Different. :)