Employee Engagement is one of the latest buzzwords floating around the online HR community. It can be frustrating to read about, mostly because engagement itself can be hard to define at times, yet so many seem to talk so matter-of-factly about it. Nevertheless, it’s important that you not only define engagement within your organization but that you attempt to bolster it among your employees. Here’s why –
According to the Harvard Business Review, organizations with high levels of engagement have:
There are a few different aspects that will affect an employee’s level of personal engagement, and they really depend on the size, scale, and daily operations of your organization. It’s important that YOU determine the aspects that keep employees engaged in your organization But if you’re unsure, here’s a few details to get you thinking in the right direction:
Does the employee fit within your organization and find meaning in the work they’re doing?
Is the employee further developing their skills? Are they successful in their daily work?
Does the employee trust leadership’s decisions?
Is the employee treated and compensated fairly?
Does the employee feel personally responsible for the quality of their work?
Is the employee appropriately communicative and are they timely in their responses?
There are more than you know. Again, a big part of your strategy for boosting employee engagement will depend heavily on your organization and its needs, but there are a few tried and true methods that will work well across almost every organization, regardless of the size. Some are easy – quick changes in habits or behavior; others may be more difficult – wide-scale procedural changes that may take some time. Remember, though, the act of fostering highly engaged employees is it’s own reward – they strengthen and fortify your organization from the inside out. Here are ten tips for boosting employee engagement.
As a leader, you should always welcome and encourage feedback from your subordinates. Employees that are most closely involved in daily operations can have extremely helpful insights. Plus, if you encourage your employees to chime in on things they are typically uninvolved with, it pushes them to think beyond the scope of their daily responsibilities and focus on the overall success of the organization.
It can be very discouraging to hire someone for a new position only to find that they aren’t engaging properly with their work. But, the fault may not lie with your new hire – it could be something with your onboarding process. You may feel the urge to let new hires tough it out and learn the ropes on their own, but this isn’t a good method for encouraging engagement. Instead, you should make yourself as informational and inspirational resource to new hires. If you show that you care about their experience of the job, they’re more likely to be engaged, which leads us to our next tip.
A true leader doesn’t just care about their own advancement – they want everyone around them to excel as well. If you act as a mentor for your employees, and you demonstrate care in their career beyond just the scope of your organization, they will respond in kind by giving their all to you and your organization’s needs.
Employees can provide invaluable insights in these brainstorming sessions. Plus, if you conduct each session as an open forum, it encourages employees to think about their role in the organization as a whole and to develop their own voice, which the cornerstone of employee engagement.
Things like birthdays, weddings, and milestones are all great opportunities to show your staff that you care about their personal lives. Even if it’s something easy, a card or another small gesture, it’s the thought that counts and thoughts like these count a lot towards keeping your staff engaged.
Employee Engagement has a lot to do with the emotional relationship between an organization and its employees. As such, providing positive things for employees to do or interact with while at work will surely help overall morale. Just make sure whatever you spend that petty cash on isn’t particularly distracting. Decorations, smaller office improvements, desktop toys, or buying your staff lunch are all good uses for petty cash.
It’s difficult to say to how much flexibility your employees should or could have with their schedules. Your day to day operations may not allow for much flexibility, or it may benefit from it greatly…it just depends. One thing is for sure, though – if you can allow flexibility with your employees’ schedules, do it. As long as the work gets done and people are sufficiently available, employee-determined schedules encourage engagement by providing freedom and encouraging efficiency.
Encouraging employees to take on pet projects is an example of a counter-intuitive tactic for boosting employee engagement. You may have thought pet projects can distract your employees, and in some instances, they can. But remember, productivity doesn’t end and begin at the office. Often, those that are most productive outside of work are top performers at the office, which is why you need to encourage your employees to be productive both within and outside of work.
A cursory google search will reveal a myriad of suggestions for encouraging engagement among your employees. Team building activities, monthly outings, or even the sporadic after work happy hours are great opportunities for you to spend time with your employees outside of the office, and for you to engage with them.
The more you trust your staff and the less your micromanage them, the more engaged they are likely to be. Remember, with autonomy comes greater responsibility. Providing your staff with more freedom at work will also heighten their accountability, and subsequently, make them more self-sufficient and productive. A gentle guiding hand is still important, but an overbearing, forceful managerial style does little to encourage engagement.
Remember, higher compensation does not automatically equal higher employee engagement. The sort of engagement that you’re after isn’t just about numbers – it’s about emotion. Compensation is important for an employee to feel satisfied with their job, but satisfaction isn’t good enough – you want them to care about their job and the organization as a whole!
You’ve got to do a little work to determine what an engaged employee looks like within your organization, but I promise that it’s worth it! Employee engagement fortifies your organization by lessening employee turnover, boosting productivity, and bettering customer service.
Ultimately, in today’s business world, where every company is competing to have the coolest, most inviting workplace culture, employee engagement strategies are already likely being practiced by your competitors. You can’t afford to have disengaged workers because you’ll wind up spending more time staffing than on anything else.
Tom Flick is a leadership keynote speaker with proven experience inspiring organizations both big and small to better their themselves and to win.
If you’re interested in having Tom help your organization win, please get in touch today!