As we’ve seen, benefits abound when organizations fully engage their employees. Deeply involved employees are more efficient and, organization-wide, engaged personnel directly impact financial results and the success of business innovation challenges. However, your company cannot expect you to get involved unless they further motivate you to show your commitment — through tools and incentives.
Someone has to care, and you need to know you can make a difference. For this, you have to see that you gain visibility, that you can have an impact, and that your company makes decisions transparently. If this is not in place, then your commitment cannot really be significantly rewarded or recognized. You need to find online forums, company events, and other internal communication initiatives that celebrate engaged employees.
If you believe your company cares, then you need to start contributing. You have to find a way to do this—by identifying specific problems that should be resolved, suggesting ways to meet known challenges, and sharing experiences of what has and has not worked for specific project, which benefits similar projects elsewhere in the organization. The more geographically dispersed and international your company is, the greater the value generated from this sharing of experiences. Contributing is a reward in itself, but you know you contribute more if the right incentives are in place.
You need to have some way to make things actually happen. Work collaboratively to build an idea or project. Dedicate some of your extra time to projects you believe make a difference and where you can make a difference. You need to show you want to work on projects, prefer certain tasks, and have a way of making things happen. For this, you most likely need an online collaboration tool and engagement processes in place, with plenty of leeway to get involved outside your usual circles and dedicate some of your time to other groups in the organization.
For each collaborative effort you join, the company has to make the objective clear—through internal communication, leadership examples and “C-level” commitment and sponsorship.
Your organization needs to devise incentives for the behaviors being promoted. Perhaps you can use virtual currency to track your participation. Your company karma can be publicized. You need to win prizes that make a difference to you, or you can give them to someone else you choose. And it should be fun. Your company can gamify processes and allow employees to face challenges like winning a game, completing a puzzle, or reaching a leaderboard — key ingredients in sustained involvement with your company’s strategic issues.
You cannot commit emotionally to an organization if you do not share its values and culture. Companies cannot expect more commitment from you, unless they first put in place mechanisms that incentivize your commitment.
You choose the company you work for, but your company chooses if they really want and if they can keep you fully engaged.