Employee engagement is a familiar term to most of us. I’ve used it a lot in my 40-year career.
But now, it seems kind of academic and sterile—a bit of corporate-speak.
What we mean, and what we want, are employees who are passionate. We want people who love their jobs and who bring their full effort and talents to help the business and brand do great things for customers. I think we should call this “employee love.”
Having passionate employees who put everything they have into their jobs each and every day is the ultimate objective of leadership, and of the human resources discipline.
We want to have people on the team who care as much as the leader about the business outcomes and the prosperity of the brand—not just “arms and legs” to do the work but “brain-power” and “heart-power” to make the work great.
We want people who love their jobs and the brand they represent.
To earn this love from employees, leaders must do several things well. In short, leaders must give love to get love in return by:
1. Realizing love is a powerful emotion that requires establishing an emotional connection with employees. This begins with a leader who accepts each and every person as an equal and who seeks to serve, rather than control or command.
Leaders must understand that the company’s success depends completely on the success of the people on their team.
2. Articulating a compelling vision for the future. Think of the vision as a destination that sparks the employee’s imagination and that is worthy of their passionate response to join the journey.
3. Aligning the values of the leadership, business, and brand with those of the employees. How the business is managed and why the brand exists are critically important. Put people before profits.
4. Providing love in the form of a beautiful work environment, generous compensation and benefits, support for work-life balance, empathy during times of need, gratitude for their efforts, and a commitment to continuously make the business and brand better.
Winning employee love is possible for every leader, business, and brand. But, it takes a strong commitment and focus on these things to create and nurture an environment where love can develop and thrive.
JIM BUCHANAN is author of “Winning Customer Love.”