How to get employee buy-in and commitment to boost your company.
An architect was asked to design a university campus. She designed and built the different department buildings on the site, but contrary to the expectations of staff and students, she didn’t design any routes or pathways. Instead, she simply planted the whole site with grass. After the first semester, pathways have formed in the grass. The architect then came back and paved them. Not only were the paths in unusual locations that the architect couldn’t have predicted, none of the paths were straight. The architect honoured both of these features when she finally paved the pathways.
This story illustrates the single most important practice when it comes to engaging people: the practice of facilitation.
Being an HR Manager, in any size organisation, in any industry and on any continent, engaging your employees in your company is always part of your focus.
Through our years of experience working with companies, we have found that in order to engage employees in the most effective manner, you first need to create the right context that will set the right foundation for engagement.
Before they can be engaged, employees need to want to be engaged, and that is something that cannot be imposed, only encouraged, indeed facilitated.
It’s important to note here that facilitating does not have to be done verbally, it can also be offered through the context. Similarly, the ‘response’ or reaction of people does not have to be verbal, it can be behavioural. This was exactly the case in the campus story above, where the invitation from the architect as well as the feedback from people were both non-verbal.
When it comes to facilitating the right context for your employees to feel engaged in your company, there are three guidelines that can help you in your role as the facilitator. Here are three tips to keep in mind. They are rather provocative, so I would encourage you to hold them in your mind for a moment, and instead of thinking: “I could never do that” or “this doesn’t work in my company”, or even “this doesn’t make sense in my HR role”, ask yourself:
- How could I incorporate that in my role in HR?
- How could I make that work for me, in my specific situation, in our organisation?
- What small aspect could I make a small shift in towards this?
Tip #1: Facilitate by creating an incomplete context.
The architect in the story above did not finish or seal the design. Instead, she left it incomplete, unfinished. The incompleteness was exactly the – non-verbal – invitation for people to share their – non-verbal – feedback. Incomplete contexts are an invitation to interact, participate, contribute and co-create. Creating an incomplete context is creating an opportunity to engage.
Tip #2: Facilitate by creating an impermanent context.
The architect did not cover the site with asphalt, but grass, which is alive and organic. Grass is in continuous conversation with its context and reflects the passage of time. Impermanence creates flexibility and allows us to record the feedback and input of people over time. Impermanent contexts are an invitation to interact, participate, contribute and co-create. Creating an impermanent context is creating an opportunity to engage.
Tip #3: Facilitate by creating an imperfect context.
The paths that appeared in the grass after the first semester were unusual and not straight. Imperfection invites people to engage with the humanity of inanimate things. Imperfect contexts are an invitation to interact, participate, contribute and co-create. Creating an imperfect context is creating an opportunity to engage.
Facilitating is creating contexts that are incomplete, impermanent and imperfect, to invite other people’s input. Creating contexts that are incomplete, impermanent and imperfect is how you can facilitate the engagement of employees in any kind of company and under any circumstances.
Facilitating interactions is the secret towards engaging people in your company.
This is what facilitation is all about: creating an invitation for people to offer their insights. Incomplete, impermanent and imperfect contexts and situations are the very invitation that people naturally respond to.
So, whenever you are looking for ways to engage your employees in your company, think about the power of facilitating interactions and the three simple ways you can do this.
Are you interested in the Power of Interactions and in engaging your employees using innovative yet simple tools? Download here the book The Power of Interactions and get the mindset as well as the practical four steps to take your organization to the next level.