Employee Engagement has been a "buzz term" for sometime now. There are tons of providers that claim they can increase engagement levels inside of companies. Their surveys and methodologies quite often focus on the wrong issues at the wrong levels. If you're in an organization that measures engagement and then does little to nothing with the results, or if your organization doesn't place any emphasis on it at all, there are a few things that you can do to drive your own personal engagement that can in turn make your work world a better place.
First, start with Clear Expectations. In my travels, I'm seeing more and more that a lack of clear expectations is a leading cause to distrust and overall poor relationships in the workplace. It's also very uncomfortable to go through your work week not knowing if you're hitting the mark or not. By nature, we don't really like to disappoint others. Expectations can be Manager to Employee, Employee to Manager, Peer to Peer, Department to Department, Client to Vendor/Partner, etc.. Expectations are not necessarily about a job description, but rather the activities, metrics and communications that we need from each other to build successful, productive relationships. Here's a tip - Meet with those you work with. Ask them what they expect of you and share what you expect of them. When disagreements occur or items are not completed, frame them in terms of unmet expectations - it's not personal, it's an unmet expectation. Remember to make the expectations less about how someone gets something done and more about the final output! If you don't know what's expected of you - then ASK!
Second, determine if you have the Resources to get your job done. I've found that the term "resources" means different things to different folks. Resources could be time, money, information flow, headcount, etc. If you don't have something you need, then ask for it. You may find that you can obtain that resource, the company already has it, or there is an alternative to your request. In some instances, the resource is not available. Then, you have to find a work-around. Don't have what you need to do the job? Then ASK!
Finally, take personal inventory to see if your Talents are Perfectly Aligned to the Tasks at hand. This might be a pretty tall order. Perfectly Aligned? That's tough. So think about this strategy. If there is something that you have to complete that's difficult for you, determine if there might be a complimentary partner on your work team that you can trade tasks with. Think about taking a "strengths-based" approach. Do tasks that you feel you excel at completing and look for that partnership in areas where you might not be perfect. For instance, I'm pretty good with new ideas, but not so good at the messaging around those ideas. Therefore, I need a partner who can track with me, then convey the idea to others to gain support. Remember, sometimes there are no options and you have to find a way to get the job done. When there's a task to get done and it's not something you excel at, ASK for assistance!