Employee engagement is critical for companies seeking to encourage passion with the right perspective. A Gallup poll found top performing work units in employee engagement outperformed bottom units by 10 percent on customer ratings, 17 percent in productivity, 20 percent in sales, and 21 percent in profitability.
If we desire for the workplace to promote collaboration, creativity and strong employee engagement, communication must be fostered from a top-down strategy. We believe that what is and what is not acceptable must be exemplified by leadership through the following four engagement tactics.
1. Learn More About Your Staff
Getting to know your employees on a personal level can be a simple and effective way to build a lasting relationship. Asking them about their families, their hobbies, and what bothers them outside of work shows that you care about their well-being, and that you’re open to talking about important aspects of their life.
This approach means setting aside dedicated time to catch up and make sure their goals and expectations are met. It’s one thing to speak over the phone regarding day-to-day work, but it’s so much more to schedule regular face-to-face interactions focused on their needs. More than likely, you will learn a lot more about what your employees like — and don’t like — and how to better communicate moving forward.
2. Equip Employees to Handle Their Work
As a leader, you have the unique insight into understanding how the company works and the role your employees play. When someone new begins with the company, tasks can seem overwhelming and a bit confusing — especially if they haven’t handled this work in the past. Make sure you clearly outline expectations and keep training appropriate, while troubleshooting alongside them. Work can halt quickly when employees are uncertain of what to do or who to approach. Develop guided interactive situations where questions can be asked before letting people fly.
Equipping will often involve hands-on training, but don’t forget to provide your employees with the hardware and software they need. Pens, pencils, and erasers only go so far. Prepare before new employees begin so you can have them set up for success. As a general habit, it might be good to consider regular check-ins with the team to discuss and try out new tools like project management software or shared documentation. This approach will encourage you to listen, collaborate, and foster an attitude of engagement.
3. Communicate Clearly
Listening is the golden rule of effective communication. Provide employees with regular touchpoints for voicing opinions, expressing concerns, and sharing successes. Let them talk and address their items. It’s one thing to tell your employees that you’re listening, but it’s a completely different thing to respond and take action.
Also, as a leader your workday can oftentimes be swallowed up by leadership or client projects. Be transparent about your own schedule by talking with your team and alerting them to the fact that you might be a bit more strained for time. Even if it doesn’t directly affect them, keeping the lines of communication open reduce assumptions made by your staff as to what could be occupying your time.
4. Support Growth Recognition
Support can take on many forms, but a straightforward “good job” or “thank you” can go a long way. By acknowledging helpful and well-executed work, you show your employees that their work did not go unnoticed and that similar work is desired for the future. If projects or tasks were performed at a higher-than-expected level, don’t hesitate to reward the individual. Whether it’s an awards ceremony, promotion within the company, or monetary thanks, recognition will leave employees with something to strive towards.
Finally, don’t forget to encourage growth. As a leader, talent recognition and cultivation of strong skills will point people in the right direction. Provide open opportunities for these skilled workers to step into new roles. If confidence is lacking, provide the critique they need, encourage hard work, and guide until they are able to repeat actions without your assistance.
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What are some other ways you engage your employees?