Your ideal candidate signed the contract. Went through the onboarding process. And now we are in the hopes our expectations are filled. This goes both ways. However, some of these expectations are usually based on wishes and desires, rather than on reality. Companies’ expectations are motivated by what the candidate’s resume says, some references, and the results of the interview process. On the candidates’ end, expectations are usually built on other people’s stories and offered work conditions. Nonetheless, we can never be 100% certain about how the results are going to turn out. This is why one important detail to cover when developing your Employer Branding Strategies is Engagement. So, what can we do as organizations to nurture Engagement and have our current employees and new hires “wear the shirt”?
Wearing the Shirt
This term encompasses several processes and meanings. Initially, it indicates commitment, engagement, and identity. These processes are not usually permanent, but persistent. When developing engagement we are not looking for obedient employees, we are looking for participative employees. Over the years “wear the shirt” has not changed its meaning, however, the ways in which this can be reached have. We have talked about how Employer Branding Strategies are different from one generation to the next. The key as an organization is finding which elements resonate with our mission and values, this way when looking to enhance engagement, our actions will be genuine.
How to get there
Wearing the shirt, of course, is much more than putting both arms and head through a shirt’s holes. Wearing the shirt is not a one-way road, both parties must work towards the same goal. It is a very narrow two-way road. This means sometimes people will have to wait, yield, and continue. Employers and employees would need to work in both directions, for the company’s growth and professional growth. Together, these two will help organizations achieve their goals more effectively.
Reaching a point in which the company and the employer are both gaining growth and willing to work on a common goal is not easy. It is a process that is built over time and with different elements. Some of these elements are easy to conquer, some are not. Which aspects should we have in mind when developing a plan towards “wearing the shirt”? Financial aspects, work conditions, setting and reaching goals, as well as growth opportunities. However, the intangible elements that we must consider are as important, and these are Identity, Empathy, Sense of belonging, Commitment, and Plenitude.
Identity and Sense of Belonging
Building identity is feeling represented in the personality of an organization. This means the organization has characteristics its employees have, in which everyone is represented, but are set apart from the rest and makes them unique. Developing identity towards a project or organization starts with feeling valuable for the organization. When our employer shows we are here because we are experts and know what we are doing. This is a key element to developing a “wear the shirt” plan.
When an employer feels like they are a part of something are experiencing a sense of belonging. Belonging means something is ours and we are a part of something. We reach a sense of belonging when the organization nurtures participation. Employers must encourage everyone’s performance according to their own skillset and characteristics. This way, employees will feel like the tasks they are completing are assisting in goal-reaching. Sense of belonging is kind of the dream and nirvana to all organizations, it must be nurtured and encouraged, but never forced, is something that comes naturally.
Is the human ability to step in someone else’s shoes. Organizations must always approach their employees from a position of comprehension and understanding. Leaders should practice active listening and assertiveness. Take actions that will help team members reach balance and harmony within the organizational and social structure. And once the leaders in the organization are doing these, it is likely the rest of the employers will take similar actions. This will help you find a state of harmony in your organization.
Commitment and Plenitude
We reach Commitment when all parties in the relationship know that they must deliver and what they will receive from the interaction. Once objectives and rewards are set, people will be more likely to take action to reach them. They will be more responsible and will do everything at their reach to accomplish great results. But something important in reaching commitment is organizations must back up their employees. If your employees are facing any obstacle or somehow fail to accomplish their goals, they want to know you have their back. Making compromises and agreements.
And last but not least in our elements required to nurture the “wear the shirt” goal, we have plenitude. Also known as realization. Linked to commitment because is about setting goals and aspirations and about the ability to reach them efficiently. One feels like is doing the right thing, that one is at the right time, taking the right path to reach their greater self. Reaching plenitude requires having identity, empathy, belonging, and commitment.