Evolution of Employee Engagement

February 27 2023
By: Shawn M. Galloway

So you want better engagement. Everyone does. But what type of engagement are you pursuing?

Engagement evolves across three types: Buy-In, Willing Participation, and Ownership. With your safety programs, systems and culture, do you have all three?

Evolution of Employee Engagement Buy-In: Do your employees and leaders buy into what you are doing to drive improvement? Do they feel they have a voice in the decisions, or are they just briefed on what was decided? It is hard to get someone to buy into something until they have had the opportunity to weigh in on that something. Buy-in comes first.

Willing Participation: Are employees agreeable and ready to do what needs to be done, or do they have to be coerced? Will they participate without prompting, reminders or constant oversight? Is your culture evolving past have-to and towards want-to? Without willing participation, what people do when the boss isn't around will be incongruent with expectations.

Ownership: When was the last time you had a rental car washed and detailed? Never? Why not? Do your leaders and employees feel a sense of ownership of your safety programs, systems and culture? Do they take care of it as they would something they are proud of in their possession? Is it something they own, or are they just renting it, doing the minimum necessary to get by?

Ownership is the best type of engagement. With this, naturally comes buy-in and willing participation. All three are essential and can be challenging to obtain. Give your employees and leadership a voice. Help them see the value in what needs to be done and, where possible, allow them some creative input into the what and how.

"When people go to work, they shouldn't have to leave their hearts at home." — Betty Bender

"TURNED ON people figure out how to beat the competition, TURNED OFF people only complain about being beaten by the competition." — Ben Simonton

"Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company." — Zig Ziglar

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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