Employees give their all – are truly engaged in their work – when they are directly involved in a change initiative in the workplace that challenges their skill set and intellect.

This came through loud and clear in research I recently conducted on employee engagement. Employees saw these change initiatives as special, allowing them not only to excel but also to contribute to the organization in a meaningful way. Most often, the employees were working in teams to develop, initiate and implement a change process. As the organizational change was implemented in the work systems and structures around them, the employees were able to witness – experience – the impact of their contribution.

Every example in my research involved employees working with others; not a single example came from on an individual working in isolation. Sure, some of the tasks were completed by only one person. But every employee reported back to the larger team, and the team was usually led by a peer rather than a senior manager.

So what? If organizations genuinely want to engage their workforce, must they live in a constant state of change initiatives?  Must they identify the change agents within their organizations and work closely with them to keep them engaged?  Is the usual routine day is a thing of the past? Yes! Change is constant in the 21st century work world, and employees want to be part of it. Open the doors to their participation and you will be amazed at the results you’ll see.