One of our biggest beliefs (because it’s true) is that high employee-engagement brings high productivity! So, what’s the number one most important thing to remember about your employees? That they are people too! Now, we know you already know this obvious fact, but knowing and doing something about it are two different things, and in today’s often reactive business environments, putting employees first often comes last. Many business-owners and managers don’t realize just how important it is to get to know their employees on a much deeper level than just at work. And you can’t rely on merely satisfied employees…there are a lot of satisfied employees who are not that productive. The secret sauce is in engagement. Engaged employees are satisfied, but they are also so much more.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how you might address employee engagement with your team or company.
Create alignment around your company’s mission.
If your company has one, great, but if there is an opportunity to refresh, enhance or elaborate on one, even better. Talk to your employees one on one and in group settings. Discuss the mission (or ask them to help articulate one) and get them to tell you what it means to them. This is a dialog, they get to participate, and you get to participate too. But make sure you listen. Listening carefully allows you to fix misperceptions, but it also may give you pause for thought. Ask for input, and when appropriate, implement their ideas and suggestions. Ask about their ideas for growth. When they answer, listen to them! IMPLEMENT their ideas in the workplace. When employees feel their ideas are actually contributing to the larger picture, they will be much more motivated to put in extra effort each day.
Seek deeper relationships with your employees.
For example, let’s say one employee, Dave, is currently caring for his elderly father. He may need to miss work to take his father to doctor’s appointments and handle other issues. Show EMPATHY. Tell Dave you understand, or maybe even bring up a time you had a similar issue. He’ll be grateful, and his performance while in the office will skyrocket. Ask your employees about their hobbies, their families, their vacations and their goals, and, in turn, they’ll ask about yours. Be willing to open up but always remain authentic. Many managers master the first part, getting to know their people better, but fail miserably in opening up. For the greatest engagement results, it is a two way street.
Encourage teams to let their hair down, but don’t dictate what that means. Be willing to allow some levity during the day, and introduce it if you must. Have potluck lunches, after hours cocktail (or mocktail) parties, or have a “wear your slippers to work” day. Studies show that employees who have a “best friend” at work tend to be much more engaged than if they don’t, so be sure to make plenty of opportunities for people to bond with each other, not just with you.
There are many ways to increase employee engagement in business, but you have to first decide it’s important for you. After that, pick one strategy, collaborate with your employees, and take small steps to get started. But get started today if you can!
Grow Big or Go Home!