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Posted by Patrick Bernier, March 29 2017
Management & HR
Employee Engagement: Do you have a rigour-based system?


Faced with a changing world, businesses must constantly reinvent themselves and develop their agility and responsiveness. An increasing focus on technologies and working from home requires that leaders attach greater value to human relations. They must adapt their management style to each associate, with a view to develop self-reliance among their staff. They emphasize their team’s intelligence in order to achieve business results. They subscribe to a rigour-based system. Learn how to improve employee engagement in your organization by reading this article!

More rigour = greater commitment

Constantly acting with rigour is no easy task, especially for business executives. All eyes are on us. The slightest sign of laxity on our part will trigger a domino effect around us. Employees, especially the best performers, have become masters in the art of detecting our contradictions and weaknesses. Seeking to avoid constraints, limitations or irritants is part of human nature. When we ask employees to commit to results, they naturally develop a comparison reflex. The performing employee will wonder if we are worth the effort. The best employees tend to work hard for the best leaders. Employee engagement cannot be achieved by business executives who lack rigour. It will only level down their team's performance. 


In his book “The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees as If They’re Real People” (McGraw-Hill © 2015), Rodd Wagner says that employees will make a greater effort and be more loyal if they are convinced that their employer is investing in their well-being. This is called the reciprocity phenomenon, i.e. leaders must adopt a behaviour that will encourage employees to return the favour. Without such an incentive, frustrated employees will work at a slower pace and could even pursue their career elsewhere.

Searching for meaning

When we hire someone or lose a performing employee, we must imperatively question our behaviours, our management style and our attitude. Most employees highly value their work. They want to understand how their involvement can benefit the company. Compensation and benefits can attract applicants and encourage employees to stay on, but the search for meaning is what drives their involvement and their passion on a daily basis. Normally, good leaders will introduce a rigour-based framework in which they expect their team to perform and, obviously, they will set the example. The simple posting of values is not good enough. It is necessary to act and achieve a vision (meaning). Of course, nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. However, as the team grows around you, your failings will have a greater ripple effect. 

Delegate to improve employee engagement

Most presidents of businesses with 5 to 99 employees act both as entrepreneur and CEO, which is not that simple. Indeed, rigour is not always part of entrepreneurial DNA. Innovative free thinkers who dared to make their ideas come true are sometimes ill at ease with the discipline required to manage and engage their team to increase employee engagement. Managing is about making your business profitable. This role can be delegated as the business grows. Business executives will set the rules of the game and accept to personally apply a few of them in order to attract and engage the most performing employees and make their work profitable.

A comprehensive rigour-based system

A rigour-based system is akin to corporate values, but it is more detailed. Its purpose is to provide the team with a clear behavioural target. Normally, it will include the employee management principles, the skills to be developed by the management team, and the tools or system to be used to ensure tasks are properly carried out. You and your team members will sign it to confirm everyone’s commitment to the system. Each member will be asked to make an annual assessment of their compliance with the rigour-based system.

Have you implemented a rigour-based system to improve employee engagement? Download an example now.

Example of a rigour-based system - Employee engagement

Patrick is a contribuor to AGA blog and is also president of Team Humania, a company specializing in human resources management committed to support and serve growing companies. Patrick has extensive experience in HR and practical expertise in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, NPOs, transportation, technology and construction, to name a few.
Patrick Bernier