Employee Engagement and Performance are Byproducts
I read some comments about a HBR article discussing whether managers should focus on Engagement vs. Performance.
It's based on Gallup's research using 12 questions to employees about their work environment, and the idea is that managers who act in a way that their employees answer the questions positively will have an engaged workforce. The point of the article is to suggest that engagement vs. performance is not an either/or opportunity, but that managers can pay attention to both.
I think it's important to talk specifically about what managers can do about engagement and performance.
Sure, knowing what your employees are doing is a good thing - not just to make them feel engaged but also because that a responsibility of management. But what about their employee's actions should they pay attention to?
Managers should focus on the flow of work through the value stream, and help to connect people at the 'hand-offs' to turn that into collaboration.
They should consistently send messages of what the purpose of the work is - what is the intended outcome and why.
They should expect accurate measurement of what matters so they can be confident to encourage risk-taking and experimentation.
Maybe most importantly they should commit to keep their employees' capacity utilization below 80% so value can get out the door to the customer soon enough for a meaningful ROI.
I think the Gallup list of 12 things is really good. How to do those things is often unclear to management that has been working with a different list for 100 years.