Employee Engagement – What Is It And Does It Matter?

Having Employees Motivated And Involved Is A Key To Success at Today’s Successful Quarry Operations.

By Steve Schumacher


Are the employees at your quarry operation truly engaged at work? What does “employee engagement” mean? Does it really matter? How do you know?

These are a few of the questions that leaders have when it comes to one of the latest set of buzzwords in the world of management and leadership. If you have been a leader for any length of time, you know that terminology changes over time in leadership writing. The core principles remain the same, however, when it comes to leading and managing people well.

The important thing about employee engagement is not so much that you understand the definition and how it was derived. It is more important that you understand what you can do to make sure you are doing everything you can to ensure that your people are engaged. The following are a few of the key building blocks to true employee engagement:

Trust. Without trust between you and your employees, there will be no engagement, period. You must feel like you can trust your people, and vice versa. That trust can only be built interpersonally, and through both parties fulfilling their obligations. It takes a long time to build trust and it can be destroyed in a second.

Will and skill. For active engagement to happen, employees must have the training and ability to do the job well, along with the motivation to do the job well. Make sure you provide the technical training necessary to meet the expectations of the job continually. The motivation comes from employees being involved in goal-setting, feedback, coaching, and recognition for a job well done. Without both will and skill, employees will never be fully engaged.

Involvement. One of the complaints I have heard from employees for decades is that they are not involved in decision-making. Give your people the opportunity to be heard and to share their opinions on what needs to be done. You hire people for both their head and their hands. Engagement comes from people using both. Set up cross-functional and/or vertical teams to work on big goals and big issues in your organization. Make the time available for that work, and communicate and reward them regularly for their efforts.

Transparency. Many organizations treat their employees like bowlers who cannot see the pins. They are told to roll the ball with a curtain in front of the pins. The bowler hears a crash of pins but does not know what happened. Raise the curtain for your employees and let them see the big picture results of their work. Hold regular business reviews to show everyone how the company is doing and the strategies being employed. Do it in person; this allows employees to see your body language and enthusiasm, along with ability to ask questions. That sort of active transparency encourages engagement.

Adequate rewards and recognition. Money is always an element of employee engagement. People must feel that the rewards they receive are adequate for the work they have put in. If the rewards are too high or too low, motivation is affected. Get to know your people and what sorts of recognition works for them as individuals. Do not assume what works for you as recognition will work for others.

Feedback and coaching. We all want to know how we stand with the boss, good or bad. For employees to feel engaged, they must get continuous, specific feedback on how they are doing. Manage your people by walking around and giving them face-to-face feedback on a regular basis. When people get a bit off-track, coach them toward improvement. That sort of guidance and coaching will make your employees want to do more and keep improving.

Having employees that are engaged will take your quarry operation to performance levels you may have not thought possible. That engagement requires you to be actively involved with them and listen to their wants, needs and desires. It takes time and effort, but having engaged employees is well worth that effort.


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