Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Engagement
Management Monday: Building Employee Engagement by Showing Appreciation
At first, building and engaging a team sounds ideal and simple. Winning sports teams like the Connecticut Huskies and America’s favorite superheroes, The Avengers, make it look so easy. The thought process typically starts with needing specific skills to help achieve goals. Unfortunately, the art of constructing and maintaining an effective team is anything but simple. From focusing too much on technical skills in the recruitment process, to under-investing in leadership and management, many teams are doomed before they really get started. Marvel’s hit television show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. highlights what a functional team can look like, and it all boils down to engaging each member of the group. Check out the employee engagement tips below, which are covered in the Five Languages for Engagement TM. Each individual often responds to different forms of communication in different ways, and being aware of different forms of communication can make a tremendous difference in their team’s engagement level.
The Five Languages for Engagement:
1. Verbal recognition – A great way to show appreciation is through verbal communication. This type of communication specifically looks to praise and verbal cues which indicate they are on the right track and have done well. You may not need this, but for them the lack of it, could mean disregard, and disapproval. Verbalize your gratitude and explain why that action was valuable to them, you and the business.
2. Sharing the load – This individual appreciates actual affirmation. This is an issue of showing not telling. Nothing has greater impact than the willingness of a leader or a coworker to lend a helping hand. While it is important to walk a fine line in the interest of your own work-life balance and job success, it is an absolute must to not be self-focused. Don’t wait for someone to ask, offer to lighten the load and show your concern for their needs and development in the organization.
3. Quality time – For this type of employee, days off and flex-time are very important. Occasionally offering days off, can really communicate your respect for work-life balance as well as your appreciation of the employee. Establishing a flex-time work schedule is a similar method. In fact, research has shown that many employees with family obligations work more effectively out of work. Furthermore, as the number of highly-educated women entering the workforce increases, there will be more demand for them to have flexibility in their hours (Wall Street Journal and WhiteHouse.gov).
4. Giving gifts – This type of individual enjoys gift receiving more than all others in feeling appreciated and valued. Taking the time to know whether your employee is interested in joining the gym and offering them a free gym membership, or getting a gift card to their favorite restaurant will speak to their needs.
5. Inviting input – For some individuals, recognition takes the form of achievement. A seat at the leadership table is no small thing. As a stake-holder in the company, this individual would like to know they are talented. Your willingness to both ask for their input and utilize their advice truly communicates their importance. In the same way, additional leadership responsibilities show trust in their capabilities, which walks hand in hand with their drive for achievement.
Anyone who watches episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. knows that offering encouragement is an area of strength for team leader, Agent Coulson. He pushes for open communication and leads by example. He most certainly genuinely cares about his team, which is seen on multiple occasions. In particular, this is evident when he helps Skye by looking into high security files to help her find information about her mother. The point is that once a goal aligned team is recruited, understanding the communication and appreciation methods above is crucial to keeping the team operational. Engaged employees have the power to achieve great things, just like the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.