In Hollywood, if you build a baseball field in the middle of your corn field, legends will appear on your lawn. In business, if you work to build an engaging workplace culture, success will come. Ignoring factors and indicators of employee engagement is a sure way to decrease the productivity of your team. Employee engagement is an asset of your business that will diminish if you do not keep it as part of your strategic plan. Productivity, employee retention, employee attendance, and proficiency are all factors that will drive the financial results of your organization in an upward or downward direction.
Knowing this, how do you positively impact employee engagement so that is drives success? The following are five key areas to incorporate in your
The following are 5 key steps to improve employee engagement:
- Employ great leaders rather than managers.
Often promotion to manager is the reward given to a successful, technically proficient employee. It’s a great move in so many ways, but one. This individual may not understand how to lead a team; how to motivate, coach and manage employees. Investing in management training and development is crucial. Specific areas of focus for new managers include communicating clear expectations, implementing consistent processes, and leading by example. Pairing a new manager with an experienced, effective manager for guidance and mentoring is a great approach to developing leadership and management skills. Establish touchpoints with your new managers to review progress and establish upcoming goals.
- Encourage frank employee feedback.
It’s important that your managers create an environment where employees feel safe to provide honest feedback. How to accomplish this? Provide a means to solicit feedback and then pay attention. Read the feedback and determine how to respond to each item. Feedback can be in the form of a survey, anonymous complaint hotline, suggestion repository or targeted group meetings. Now, where the difficulty lies is that honest feedback is only given when the surveyed individuals feel “safe”. The actions of management have a deep influence on frank employee feedback. A culture of open communication without retribution must exist so that you can trust the feedback provided. So many times, the results of a survey are in direct contrast with the perceived morale. In this situation, initiatives such as skip-level meetings should be utilized to uncover the cause of distrust and disengagement.
- Open lines of communication throughout the organization.
Employees who have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the mission and vision of the organization will undoubtedly be more engaged. Communicate clearly the expectations of each person’s role. Provide specific processes to follow. Do not assume that everyone “knows how” to accomplish objectives. Provide feedback on your team’s progress and provide a clear picture of how their performance is tracking.
- Create an inclusive environment.
Inclusive environments are critical to healthy employee engagement. Offering an inclusive culture is being cognizant of the prospective and uniqueness of your employees. It’s creating a workplace where everyone is treated equally with respect and consideration. This includes providing equivalent opportunities to participate, contribute, learn and express opinions. Often without conscious choice, managers will offer feedback to employees using completely different approaches. For example, a manager takes the time to review progress with one employee, yet, sends an email to another employee to provide similar feedback. Ensure that you delegate special assignments fairly and communication is to the group and not certain individuals. Small gestures from a manager could be interpreted as discriminatory and erode the employee’s sense of value. Understanding the circumstances that create an environment of inequity is critical to eliminating office bias.
- Include employee engagement as a permanent part of your strategic planning.
Organizations with higher employee engagement realize higher productivity, substantially better customer loyalty, fewer accidents, and greater profitability. Therefore, it is vital to include employee engagement as a priority in your organization’s strategic plan. This initiative must be a priority for every level of management – from the board of directors to team leaders.
Employee engagement is not something that is “fixed” therefore forgotten. It is a factor that will have a significant impact on the success of your organization. If you ignore it, it will decline.