Employee Engagement: Whose responsibility is it?

It’s easy to point the finger when it comes to employee engagement. Employees look to the organization to provide meaningful work. The organization looks to employees to find meaning in their work. But like any mutually beneficial relationship, effective workplace engagement requires active participation from both parties.

HR—who often handles organizational engagement—needs to create a workplace environment that encourages and values employee engagement. And employees also need to take an active role in their personal engagement as well. Here are a few things each party can do to help increase engagement:

How HR Can Help Engagement

Provide a career development path.

To nurture engagement, HR should create and communicate a career development path with each employee. Developing this path helps employees reach professional goals that map to company objectives and become more confident in their roles. In turn, employees are more effective at their jobs which often leads to increased job satisfaction and the ability to confidently complete their work.

Look for training opportunities.

Professional development is the way employees travel down the development path they create with HR. To develop—and therefore engage—employees, organizations should help employees acquire the knowledge they need and want and then give them opportunities to practice that knowledge. Organizations who train their employees benefit from increased skill and loyalty.

Create a feedback loop.

As part of the development process, companies need to establish a framework for communicating feedback and guidance to their employees. At times, the development process may require more formal mentoring or management with a veteran employee or manager, such as in a corporate compliance program. Other times, frequent and informal feedback will do.

How Employees’ Can Help Engagement

Embrace the company culture, vision, and values.

Fitting into company culture is almost as important to employers as a new hire’s ability to perform—almost 60 percent of HR professionals say they would fire a high performer who did not fit into company culture. With this in mind, employees should proactively learn about and engage with the company culture. Proactive employees take advantage of new development opportunities and suggest company initiatives that map directly to the organization’s goals and values—and these types of contributions are more likely to be recognized and valued.

Participate in the feedback loop.

Sometimes leadership can’t tell if specific employees aren’t engaged. Employees should feel comfortable providing feedback when they’re feeling disengaged. Then the employee and their manager can work together to pinpoint and solve the problem. For instance, if an employee is feeling unchallenged by his assignments, he and his manager might work together to find work that more closely matches that his interests and talents.

Help coworkers find engagement.

Once employees reach a high level of engagement, they can better coach and mentor coworkers to become more engaged. Often times, these engaged employees will move into leadership titles where they can work on engagement with direct reports. However, even if they don’t, they can still help coworkers engage with the company culture and pinpoint any engagement roadblocks they may be experiencing.

Employee engagement is a shared responsibility between HR and employees. When HR provides clear development paths, training, and opportunities for feedback, employees are set on a track for engagement success. And when employees take advantage of that track by engaging with company culture and values, participating in giving feedback, and helping their coworkers also find engagement, companies are much more likely to find success.