1. The invitation to engage should be genuine – do you really want to hear employees’ ideas and what they have to say?
2. The problem must be worth their time and effort – your employees are busy people, what’s the compelling reason for them to divert their attention?
3. The ‘contract’ is clear – in other words, you don’t say you want employees to help make decisions when all you really want is their ideas.
4. People must have the necessary skills and knowledge to engage effectively – this means giving employees info in a helpful way; and it means leaders ask open questions and listen.
5. Leaders must really want to engage and not simply indulge in it – your employees aren’t stupid. They will see any ‘engagement’ as the tick box exercise it is and dis-engage.
6. Give regular feedback – people will want to know how their contribution has made a difference. This will have the added bonus of encouraging them to engage further.