Stephanie Haydn Buchanan
Stephanie Haydn Buchanan
Sr. Consultant, People AK
The Associated General Contractors of Alaska logo
Start with Asking
By Stephanie Haydn Buchanan

ngagement, loyalty, development, retention—these are all words that describe a healthy, vibrant workforce.

In an industry in which the workforce is deployed to locations around the state—and with the latest trend toward remote work—it is more challenging than ever to create an engaged and loyal team, yet it is imperative to do so.

Tap Natural Talent Base
Developing a comprehensive employee engagement plan requires that the organization understands its culture from the employees’ perspective. Many leaders believe their culture, or their vision of the organization’s culture, is understood. The truth is that if you don’t ask, you truly cannot know. Your current culture is also your brand, and your best ambassadors are the employees that work for you now.

There are clear strategies that drive engagement and develop synergistic teams. The first thing to do is to let managers lead by leveraging their team’s natural talents. When managers leverage natural talents, they motivate their teams and drive results. They do this because they engage employees and, in turn, employees have a desire to contribute and deliver. Engaging your team is industry agnostic. The tools and the focus may vary, but the strategies do not.

“Though you may think the problem is your technology or processes, the real problem is that you don’t have enough star employees. Technologies and processes continue to evolve, but how companies manage and develop stars hasn’t improved over the past decade.”

Randall Beck and Jim Harter – “To Win with Natural Talent, Go for Additive Effects”

Ensuring that the right individuals are in the right role is key. Organizations tend to concentrate on education, skills, and work experience, overlooking natural talents that create a collaborative environment and build trust. When building teams, look at individual strengths and how those strengths play into the strengths of other team members. You don’t want to build a team that lacks executors or, for that matter, creativity. Both are important in developing a highly functional unit. When employees are working with their natural talents, they are satisfied and remain engaged.
Seek Feedback
Engaging employees requires managers to solicit feedback to measure job satisfaction and engagement. The Gallup employee engagement survey, referred to as “Q12,” is a resource that measures involvement and enthusiasm. It poses twelve statements:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Organizations that leverage the Gallup Q12 can easily use the results to encourage conversations that lead to improving engagement and help you to develop a comprehensive strategy that will align your workforce, building a positive culture and brand.

Engagement begins with the right leaders, the right people, and the right mix of talent coming together to deliver outcomes. When employers get it right, customer satisfaction improves, and revenue grows

Stephanie Haydn Buchanan, a senior consultant at People AK, is an Army veteran and boasts more than twenty years of experience in communication and implementation, supported by a talent for internal and external engagement.