Building Engagement is About Fostering More Productive, Loyal and Happy Employees. These are the Tips that Will Help You Achieve That.
Employee engagement is a solid driver for success. Consider that employees who feel strongly positive about their work tend to be more productive, which results in better performance and better products or services. Additionally, happy, engaged employees will stay with a company for longer, therefore contributing much more to its momentum.
As put forth by Gallup, employee engagement in the United States is as high as it’s ever been. Reportedly, 34 percent of workers are engaged, compared to a low 26 percent back in 2000.
While that recent peak is promising, it also means that the other 66% of the workforce is either passively or actively disengaged. In fact, on average, 17 percent of U.S. workers have been actively disengaged over the last 18 years since the information has been tracked.
The trick is not just building loyalty and engagement with that subset of disenfranchised employees, but also retaining it.
New hires aren’t automatically beholden to their employer right out of the gate. There’s a lot that goes into building a solid relationship with personnel, which helps to foster teamwork, dedication and strong cultural beliefs — many related to supporting the company in question. Long-time employees that are disengaged are even more difficult to appease, seeing as they have a long history with the company, which directly influences their outlook.
So, how do you do it? How can you boost engagement?
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Ten Best Practices for Boosting Employee Engagement
What is it that truly inspires dedication and support? Is it strong leadership? Is it the promise of highly personalized experiences?
Here are some best practices for encouraging engagement:
1. Have an On-boarding Plan
People are motivated by purpose. That’s exactly why it’s important to provide your personnel with a well-thought-out plan. Do you have one, do you follow it yourself, do others know it?
Having a written plan that you share with new hires means they are more likely to stay on track, plus they understand how many things they are expected to master. Smooth on-boarding means confusion is minimized – this will lead to great success for new employees. It also helps ensure that everyone is onboard and on-track, following the same basic processes. No one falls astray because they weren’t sure of what they were supposed to be doing or what their goals and responsibilities are.
2. Routinely Check-In with Your Personnel
Sometimes, it’s okay to leave personnel to their own devices. But even in an environment with minimal supervision, you still need to check-in from time to time.
During these routine check-ins, it’s imperative that the supervisor practices active listening as it keeps everyone on the same page. Through this exchange, employees can better understand how their work plays into larger organizational goals, and they also have an opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions, which is a motivation booster.
3. Establish Clear Goals
Establishing a clear goal is a lot like the mechanics of a sports event. Fans that follow their favorite team’s progress can easily understand the full scope of what’s happening. Even on a play-by-play basis, they understand what the mission is, and how their team can win. This enables their ability to follow individual plays or decisions. It also allows them to interact and experience the entire event on a more personal level, keeping them engaged the whole way.
Setting goals in a business environment is no different. In football, you’re trekking across the field to get a touchdown. In soccer, you want to shoot a goal. What is the goal of your business and operations? What are your employees trying to do?
4. Foster a Culture of Inclusion
Fostering an atmosphere of open dialogue is important because it gives employees visibility into the company: what are the latest wins, opportunities and challenges? With these insights, team members are empowered to be part of the solution process.
It’s not just about acquiring information and dialogue from the employees but also giving back in return. Are they sharing in the company’s success? Do they know what’s working and what isn’t? How have they contributed to the current performance and progress?
5. Nurture Growth and Training
This is one of the most important responsibilities of the organization: encouraging employees to further develop in areas where they show promise. No one is perfect and there’s always, always room for growth. Moreover, when we, as humans, become stagnant in our work, we tend to fall by the wayside. It’s why the saying “practice makes perfect” exists.
Consider creating a formal fund for educational resources like books and classes, or setting aside time for internal development programs such as lunch and learns.
6. Deliver Personalized Experiences
Employees have unique strengths and weaknesses that should be taken into account. Making the assumption that everyone on a team is the exact same is detrimental to success and progress. Even when employees are similar there are personality nuances that contribute to their experiences, meaning there will be different results.
It’s the leader’s responsibility to ensure that employee engagement initiatives are tailored to the many different personalities and learning styles of their team members. Invest time in getting to know the team and find ways to speak to their individual interests, talents and traits.
7. Generate Internal Buy-In
Of course, there will always be day-to-day tasks or ongoing goals that are inherent to a position. But that doesn’t change the fact that people tend to invest more in projects that belong to them. There must be internal buy-in, allowing team members to feel the value of an operation.
By offering employees a chance to build their own project, they earn that ownership they so desire which encourages active participation.
8. Recognize the Successful and Dedicated
Acknowledging individuals and sharing their success across the organization is a mood booster and motivates team members to hold themselves up to high standards. It provides solid examples of personnel that have excelled, giving everyone else a framework to look up to. But it also generates a more natural challenge. People want to be recognized and will strive for it, encouraging them to go above-and-beyond.
9. Standardize Your Leadership
No matter what department you're in, expectations should always be the same across the organization — from the top down. This reinforces the idea that every employee is on the same team and on a level playing field, as opposed to a culture of siloed and competing departments. In many cases, you want separate departments to work together and collaborate, but not to compete. This only works if every leader is on the same page, just like the rest of the team.
10. Develop Unified Communication
Speaking of siloed departments ... to avoid that kind of setup, every organization needs a central hub of communications that ensures documents and information are accessible. More importantly, the tools in use should allow for cross-communication and multi-departmental collaboration.
Cut down on time wasted searching for information. Your employees will thank you.