better recognize

The fourth and final pillar in an employee engagement framework for the banking industry is reward and recognition. The model, beautiful in its simplicity, can be relatively easily applied outside of the banking industry.

Earlier I described training and career development, co-worker relationship, and perceived organizational support. Now, let’s take a look at reward and recognition.

Reward and recognition.

A very straightforward yet complicated principle. Credit where credit is due, and a sincere thank you will get you a long way. Back in 1998, Flynn claimed that rewards and recognition activities help the organization build up the confidence level of the employees and improve their motivation and morale. The ultimate aim of a recognition and reward program is to make the employees believe that the organization truly values their contributions.

If done well, this will boost employee engagement and productivity.

The challenge for larger organizations is to reward and recognize their employees sincerely, at scale.

A system that maps professional preferences and soft-skills, is required so managers or HR professionals can tailor their rewards and recognition to a market of one, the employee on the receiving end.

support felt

Perceived organizational support is about as important as training and career development in the employee engagement mix. One particular conceptual framework to map employee engagement in the banking industry is built on four pillars: training and career development, co-worker relationship, perceived organizational support, and reward and recognition. The model is beautiful in its simplicity, and there aren’t many barriers to apply this model outside the banking industry.

Earlier I described training and career development and co-worker relationship. Now, let’s look into perceived organizational support.

Perceived organizational support.

Emphasis on perception. Some organizations think they support their employees quite well, whereas, in reality, the employees indicate feeling little to no support from the organization. Sometimes the underlying reason can be as simple as a misunderstanding. For example, Samia is very ambitious, and naturally, she wants to improve her professional capabilities. Her employer offers courses, online learning tools, and workshops. Except they failed to mention it on numerous occasions. During hiring or pre-boarding, but no later than onboarding, crucial aspects like this should have been brought up.

Organizations seeking out (increased) employee engagement must support their employees. Period. From small, one-off initiatives like a birthday card to large career-spanning initiatives to fully support the people throughout their journey with the company.

One way to go about this is to just ask. Ask the employees what it is they need. Some employees might not be able to vocalize their needs well, which is fine; that’s why a framework to map professional preferences comes in handy.

co-worker combo

Co-worker relationship is the most prominent factor influencing employee engagement in the banking sector. One particular study provides a conceptual framework to map employee engagement in the banking industry, built on four pillars. Training and career development, co-worker relationship, perceived organizational support, and reward and recognition. The model is beautiful in its simplicity, and there aren’t many barriers to apply this model outside the banking industry.

Earlier I described training and career development. (link). Now, let’s look into the co-worker relationship.

Co-worker relationship.

It goes without saying that, depending on the type of job, the kind of co-worker relationships varies. A nurse may have other nurses as colleagues and doctors, to name a few. A junior engineer may be paired with a senior engineer, a project manager, and a tester.

One of the biggest employee engagement boosters is to identify and communicate team roles within a team. When companies help their employees understand their preferred roles within a team, they can build better matches with greater compatibility.

Some people naturally show more leadership characteristics, whereas others are more hands-on. More specifically, some people are helicopters, keeping an overview at all times. Other people are planners, maximizing efficiency within the team.

Different tasks require different team compositions. Start with identifying soft-skills and professional expectations regarding team roles to boost engagement and productivity.

true engagement

An IT support engineer recently asked me if he could call me with good news. I answered; yes, of course.

Amid a rather complex migration issue — one that he’d been working on for quite a while — a new solution manifested itself.

The support engineer said; I can’t tell you how happy I am I found this solution. The intonation and vibe only added credibility to the authenticity with which he relayed the message.

That’s what employee engagement looks like.

job tree

One particular conceptual framework to map employee engagement in the banking industry is built on four pillars. Training and career development, co-worker relationship, perceived organizational support, and reward and recognition. The model is beautiful in its simplicity, and there aren’t many barriers to apply this model outside the banking industry.

In the next few days, I’ll briefly describe each pillar.

Training and career development.

As time progresses, it’s becoming more apparent that one of the best ways to convince people to choose for an employer is the ability of the employer to provide perspective. Not in an old-fashioned kind of way, as in, if you work hard, we’ll bump your salary in eighteen months. If you keep working hard, we’ll bump it again in another eighteen months, and so on…

In this day and age, providing perspective means offering the candidate a map. A map with a pin showing the candidate, today, you are here. Tomorrow, proverbially, these are all the (career) routes you could take. 

Some of them might require hard-skills training. Perhaps additional degrees or certificates are necessary for a follow-on job. Some of them might require soft-skills training. When an employer moves into a managerial position, specific people skills, stress management, and responsibility become increasingly important.

Mapping the current situation, combined with suggesting multiple possibilities and future outcomes, is the foundation for training and career development.

Practical advice: map both people’s and jobs’ hard- and soft-skills to create a tree of internal career possibilities, alongside insight into which skills gaps need to be bridged to move between positions.

still fits

One of the three ways to get to know employees better, with the ambition to boost employee engagement, is to focus on the “talent fit,” according to this Forbes article.

According to the article, the way to focus on “talent fit” is to ask employees if the job still fits them.

Pretty straightforward and not a bad idea at all.

Additionally, companies should leverage a model, preferably academically validated, to build those insights at scale.

why quit

4 reasons why software engineers leave their job.

Mismatch in expectations

Wait a minute, this is not what I’ve been sold. Often, the way the job has been offered initially doesn’t align with what it feels like to actually perform in the role, every day.

Flawed remote work strategy

A remote work strategy shouldn’t revolve around the required amount of days employees must come to the office. It should be about the most efficient way to get synchronous work done. This depends heavily on how teams organize themselves, as opposed to an enforced, top-down approach.

Bigger picture

In many cases, software engineers don’t really feel what their efforts contribute to. For clients or internal projects, ideally, the impact that they helped realize, should be made as tangible as possible.

No recognition

Sleepless nights, plagued by that one stubborn bug that just won’t go away. An architectural innovation that dramatically reduces cost structure or doubles performance… So many efforts go by unnoticed. Without empathic leadership, the proverbial pat on the back, it’s hard to keep pushing code daily.

hero

Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own story. This powerful quote by Franz Kafka potentially reveals a lot about us humans.

I believe that many of us are necessarily the hero(in) of our own job.

When employers, specifically managers and leaders, fail to recognize, respect, and empathize with their hero(in) employees, expecting them to be involved and engaged is unrealistic.

thank you

Thank you. These two words and their impact have been researched thoroughly, with tons of new research appearing every day.

When managers thank their employees for their contributions, acknowledge their achievements, and give credit where credit is due, employees are four times more likely to feel engaged.

Whom are you going to thank today?

our own hero

Everyone is necessarily the hero of their own imagination. That’s what Franz Kafka once said allegedly.

Everyone wants to be the hero of their own job. When employers, more specifically managers and leaders, fail to show recognition, respect, and empathy, employee engagement is no longer an option.