Leverage engagement to better implement strategy in your organisation

Prof Hester Nienaber and Prof Nico Martins in their new book: Employee Engagement in a South African Context examine the relationship between organisational performance and sustainability. They believe it’s vital for leadership and management, to take action to leverage engagement to enhance strategy implementation.

But when it comes to employee engagement in South Africa, the survey results of Martins and Nienaber, highlight the six lowest-ranked statements in the 2014 and 2015 engagement surveys are:

  • Risk-taking is encouraged in the organisation.
  • I am satisfied with the way that my work performance is evaluated.
  • The way we do things around here encourages high performance.
  • My immediate manager gives me regular feedback that helps me to improve my performance.
  • In my organisation individual employees are involved in implementing the strategy of the organisation.
  • The organisation has a stimulating environment

In considering the statements that were ranked unfavourably, it is clear that management and leadership can take action to correct engagement in their organisations.

6 Ways management can take action to improve engagement and strategy implementation

Leveraging engagement to enhance strategy implementation can be achieved by:

  1. Re-examining the purpose and long-term goals of the organisation, as the customers pay for everything.
  2. Establishing a shared purpose, with which employees connect emotionally, is paramount. Hence, the inputs of employees are crucial.
  3. Visibly aligning jobs to organisational goals is necessary for employees to see how their targets support organisational goals.
  4. Ensuring priorities are clear and supported by systems and processes.
  5. Reinforcing priorities by communicating clearly to confirm shared meaning.
  6. Ensuring communication is supported by line managers encouraging and empowering employees in sense-making and decision-making, in accordance with organisational values.

Engagement and strategy both consist of multiple, interdependent and interacting parts, making them complex. Moreover, engagement contributes to a competitive advantage, the hallmark of a sound strategy, is the tool organisations use to achieve goals and thus organisational performance.

The most important dimension of competitive advantage is resources, and in particular HR, to provide customer value in the arenas where the organisation chooses to compete. This means that each and every individual in the organisation must be aware of the organisational purpose and every job must be aligned with the goals of the organisation to contribute to goal achievement and thus organisational performance. Moreover, jobs must be occupied by employees possessing the required competence to create value for customers in the chosen arenas and who are willing to dispense their competence in line with organisational values. The willingness to dispense competence is influenced by engagement, which in turn is impacted by line managers who create an environment in which employees can perform. As such engaged employees are the cornerstone of competitive advantage. Engagement and strategy are inextricably intertwined.

To learn more about Prof Hester Nienaber and Prof Nico Martins’ new book: Employee Engagement in a South African Contextclick here now.


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