Employee engagement is something we talk about a lot…really a lot…because it is pretty important.
Employee engagement sounds so simple. When a business appreciates its employees and their work in a demonstrable way, employees will value their company, they will feel like their work is meaningful and ultimately, they will excel. Let’s face it, that’s what every employer wants.
It is something that we support our clients with a lot. You can read about their experiences here.
Let’s look at some things that you can do yourself to improve your employee engagement:
- Get the conversation right – Start simple. Having a strong model of communication with your team will go a long way to improving relations all round. Be open and honest, trust your team and inspire trust in return, be grateful. Make your expectations clear, address concerns quickly and always relate to how the work your employees are doing now will impact the future. You can read more about this in our post on improving conversations here.
Being a good listener is also important in conversations. You can watch a Ted talk about that here.
- Encourage conversation – Once you’ve got the conversation format right for your business culture, you need to encourage your employees to engage in the conversation. New employees especially will be less likely to express themselves. You might even find that you have a culture that makes employees feel like they can’t open up or be themselves. This will lead to a toxic environment where people feel isolated and stressed and you are left unaware because they won’t open up to you. Encourage openness, expression and honesty, praise it and respect feedback. This will remove fear from your employees and create a more positive culture. You can read more about how to encourage and react to feedback here.
- Making an office a home – Having great conversations is all well and good but if your employees then sit back at their desks miserable because they are cold, the lighting is too bright, and in all honesty, it looks a bit like a jail cell, then their enthusiasm will be cut short. Think about it. Most people need a good space around them to help them concentrate, get creative and feel calm and happy. You can ask your employees for their feedback and/or just go for the obvious. Some nice plants, good lighting, nice landscapes dotted around, that sort of thing!
- Aligning values – Once everyone is happy, warm, and communicating with each other, you can start to work on aligning their core values with that of the business. That doesn’t mean turning your employees into a cult and having them perform ritual offerings to your business like its some kind of deity! It simply means that they care about what you care about and they really feel committed to your businesses core values. If you can do that then your employees will be passionate, productive, loyal and ultimately good cultural fits. You can be a bit culty I suppose and have your core commandments framed on the wall or you can simply communicate them on an ongoing basis.
- Encourage growth – People can’t grow unless they know what their weaknesses are. People also lose motivation when they keep getting negative feedback and feel like they can’t do anything right! Make feedback a positive experience by identifying what the issue is and why it is important to get it right, giving them the bigger picture. Then ask them what can be done to help them, how you can support them and encourage them to get creative and use their own initiative to try and solve the issue. Praise them for taking it on the chin and also for showing enthusiasm for trying to solve the issue. That kind of conversation is much more productive than simply telling someone how they aren’t doing a job well.
- Encourage growth continuously – Giving feedback is great but you need to do it a lot. If someone does something wrong and then doesn’t hear about it for six months, the feedback won’t be as effective. Some issues might be linked to deep rooted behaviours or habits which means that they could take a while to overcome. Strive for continuous growth and productivity by tackling issues as soon as they arise and if you follow the point above, doing so shouldn’t be daunting. You might even find that the feedback you give is simply to say “well done, you are progressing really well.”
Keep an eye out next week for our second post where we will share some creative ideas for improving employee engagement! To find some more useful tips, read these older posts: