According to a Gallup study, highly engaged companies have 43% lower employee turnover, 18% higher productivity, and 23% higher profits.
Engagement is the degree to which employees are passionate about what they do. It should not be confused with loyalty, which refers to employee satisfaction and identification with the organization. Engagement goes further and assumes that the specialist makes independent efforts to achieve the goals that are set for his team and employer.
An employee is ready to invest in the achievement of the goals of the organization if the following conditions are consistently met:
the goals of the team contribute to the satisfaction of its important needs;
team goals are consonant with his own goals.
Let’s look at what each of the points means for IT professionals. Our brain strives to satisfy the maximum number of needs, that’s how it works. If some of them are not satisfied within the framework of our life activity, of which work is a part, then the brain will constantly turn on defense mechanisms. They are different for different people, but none of them will contribute to effective teamwork.
The IT professional we want to keep must be paid enough to eat, support a family, feel safe, etc. The basic needs of all people are similar – these are the needs of a biological species, that is, food, water, sleep, procreation, protection from external dangers, etc. A hungry and frightened person is little capable of creative activity. If the basic needs are not closed, he will not be able to set any goals – either his own or the team’s – purely biologically.
When the basic needs are satisfied, a person is capable of achieving goals related to satisfying the needs of a higher order – social ones, as well as self-realization. Here, employees will differ much more in terms of the severity of needs.
For some, it is important to be involved in the creation of something new – for example, high-load systems, complex AI algorithms, national-scale projects or new consumption patterns. For others – to belong to a social group and occupy a certain place in it. Still others want to enjoy attention, respect or love from other people and realize this through promotion and development of managerial skills and soft-skills.
Our brain judges the success or failure of certain behaviors (including complex ones like completing a project, creating agreements with subcontractors, or a creative breakthrough) by what kind of emotion was the result. Biologically, it is emotion that signals that a certain important need for us is being satisfied or violated. At the same time, learning takes place, that is, the consolidation of the “correct” strategy of behavior and the formation of a system of values - important guidelines on the basis of which a person makes decisions about what is good and what is bad.
In order for not one person, but the whole team to be able to implement a complex strategy of behavior and effectively move towards a common goal, it is necessary that the personal goals and values of each of its members be consonant with the goals and values of the team or organization.
How to achieve this? In the middle of last year, the number of requests from large Russian companies for team coaching to increase engagement increased dramatically. For example, a session for one of the largest and most effective corporate IT teams can be figuratively called “Values are not on the wall, but in the heart of employees.” The head of the division and the HR business partner wanted employees to not just memorize the values, but to share and use them as a tool for team building and decision making. To do this, the program of the two-day event was built through the emotional experience of the team members, first of personal values, and then combining them with the team values. 95% of the work was done in mini-groups with various interactives and online voting, the session included only 5% of the theory in the form of short information blocks. As a result of this work and a series of subsequent supportive events, the cohesion of the large team and its ability to achieve its goals has increased significantly, while turnover has decreased. The active participation of the IT manager played a big role in achieving the result.
Thus, in order to involve a specialist, first of all it is necessary to make sure that his basic needs are satisfied. And then the task of the manager or HR business partner is to rally the team around common values, so that each of its important members constantly sees the common goal through the prism of personal ones and, accordingly, is passionate about achieving it. Then the risk of losing specialists will be significantly reduced.