Employee engagement is a hot topic and is surrounded by science and pseudo-science alike, however, the common thread is employee engagement is a must in order to stave off turnover and busted budgets.

Paul Zak takes this need for engagement a step further and says to truly build a culture of engagement, trust is at the heart. 

The real question is how is this done?

By developing a solid and authentic plan for whole-person learning/growth, recognition, and intentional relationship building.

Many times these are created through after-hours bowling and drinks.  However, research has found more and more, these forced events have minimal long term effects on building a trusting environment and in fact doesn’t lead to higher job satisfaction.  Employee engagement is more of a psychological contract rather than a physical representation and at the root is trust.

Consider these top five essentials to employee engagement, how they can contribute to an authentic environment of trust, and how an organizational coach can encourage this within an organization.

1. Interpersonal Climate
In Gallup’s 2015 study, The State of the American Manager, they found 50% of Americans left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.”

Coach Solution
Inter and Intra department relationships are key.  Provide individual goal setting, along with an informal/formal platform for employees to develop strategies with management in building a trusting relationship.

2. Build Happiness
This is rooted in an overarching quality of life full of rich and challenging situations that not only influence a deeper sense of purpose but also bring about intentional relationships.  High trust companies help people develop personally as well as professionally through developing talent while also integrating family time and reflecting-  investing in the whole person.

Coach Solution
Invite, inform, and embed respect, receptivity, and real concern for all in the organization. Pay fairly, enable employees, give clarity, allow employees to fail, and don’t micromanage.

3. Wellness
Employee wellness programs help to create a community while also lowering medical costs.  Wellness, however, needn’t be monthly weight loss challenges and blood draws for cholesterol.

Coach Solution
Offer coaching to individuals in defining and aligning their work/life balance through an organizational-wide initiative with the inclusion of other benefits like gym memberships, quiet rooms, etc.

4. Organizational Alignment
The sharing of vulnerability increases trust and cooperation as well as alignment of the values from which the organization works.  Jim Whitehurst of Red Hat says, “I found that being very open about the things I did not know actually had the opposite effect than I would have thought. It helped me build credibility.”

Coach Solution
Create opportunities for employees to team with key stakeholders in developing a feedforward system where both are asked what they could do better as well as share where they are struggling.

5. Recognition
Praise your employees: Public, Recognition, Authentic, Immediate, Specific, and Enthusiastic. Earlier we discussed employees don’t quit organizations, they quit their managers.  By implementing PRAISE trust grows and employee engagement blooms.

Coach Solution
Assist in creating a robust recognition program as well as manager level coaching on authentic recognition practices and how to establish this in their everyday management.

The essentials for employee engagement are built on trust through more than just the 5 options above, however by focusing efforts with a certified coach, HR, and strategic teams in relationships, happiness, wellness, alignment, and recognition you will find employees are committed to the organization.  A strong belief in core values, vision, mission, will usher in an employee excited to go above and beyond what is expected and they will deliver outstanding results.