Resource Development Associates

Employee Engagement

By Patricia Marrone Bennett

Research on workforce engagement demonstrates that there are 12 primary indicators used as measures of employee engagement.  The first is “I know what is expected of me at work everyday.”  Some may think that if an employee has a job description, has received adequate orientation, and has an assigned manager who provides supervision, this should be enough. This is not the case.  Here are some questions that an employee may have if they are unsure what is expected of them:

  • When is it appropriate to ask questions?
  • Am I supposed to offer up my ideas even if they conflict with my manager / supervisor’s directions?
  • How should I show up at team meetings and what is my role?
  • How and when is it okay to tell my manager / supervisor that I don’t understand something?
  • What are the cultural norms regarding how we work with each other in teams?
  • Should I expect that the answers to some of these questions depend on the manager / supervisor and not on the practices of the organization?

At the heart of this issue lies the need for building trust.  An employee should always feel that it is safe to ask questions. Depending on many factors in the workplace, there may be an appropriate time and place to ask questions, but managers / supervisors are always responsible for helping to build a trusting relationship.  When that happens, employees can feel that they know what to do in their jobs even when questions arise.

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