An engagement is such an exhilarating moment. It’s two people making a conscious decision to love each other, commit to each other, and strive for common goals together that will bring them both joy and prosperity so that they can have a happy life. It’s a beautiful thing.
Engagement is also a beautiful thing in the workplace. No, I’m not talking about office romances. I’m talking about employee engagement – when your team members are personally invested in their jobs, the quality of their work, and in the overall wellbeing and success of the company as a whole. Engaged employees care, and their work ethic shows it. Like an engaged couple, engaged employees make a conscious decision to care for their company, its productivity and reputation. They commit to doing their part (and then some) to make the company the best it can be. And they strive to achieve goals – for themselves in their career development, and for the company’s growth and success. The end result – joy and prosperity for the employee and the company – a marriage made in business heaven.
If having engaged employees sounds more like a TV dream sequence than a reality show, you’re in good company. Many business owners are so focused on the traditional aspects of running a business (aka the Bottom Line) that they don’t know whether their employees are engaged in the company’s mission and vision, or whether they’re “going through the motions” just for a paycheck. And the difference, literally, is the company’s Bottom Line.
According to Gallup research, roughly two-thirds of employees in America are disengaged. That means that only one-third of American workers are invested in their company and its success, and are willing to go that proverbial extra mile to boost both. In monetary terms, that translates to billions of dollars lost. Disengaged employees are often apathetic, and customers and clients sense that. When a client detects apathy, they at best have a lackluster experience with the company. At worst, they never come back, don’t recommend your business to others, and may even take to social media to complain about their interaction with your disengaged worker. Your Bottom Line suffers – never getting another dime from that client, and missing out on countless others who saw the negative review and went elsewhere.
Now consider the other scenario – you have an engaged employee who greets your customers with a genuine, friendly smile, asks what they need, and does whatever it takes to provide that for them. Throughout the entire interaction, that employee shares their knowledge about your products or services. They believe in your products, in your company, and it radiates from them along with that smile. Your client gets exactly what they need, they come back again, refer others to you, and get online to rave about how helpful your employee was. Your Bottom Line rises – you have a repeat customer and countless new clients who saw the positive review and chose your company to fill their needs.
Obviously, you want the second scenario for your business. So how do you engage your employees and ultimately elevate their performance?
There are numerous tactics that can help improve employee engagement, and they all boil down to one core reality: Employees need to feel appreciated and valued for their contributions to the company. They will work harder when they know their effort is recognized, acknowledged, and valued. It will help strengthen their commitment to your company – no ring required.
Here are some tips to improve your employees’ engagement:
1. Determine your employees’ current level of engagement.
It’s hard to know where you need to go if you don’t know where you’re starting. You can find out through online surveys, interviews, or focus groups. Ask them about important aspects of work like job design, organizational support, and fair treatment and equity. And remember, your employees need to know they can be honest without fear of retribution.
2. Identify the areas that need the most improvement.
Which categories received the least stellar feedback? Make those your focus.
3. Create a plan to improve those areas.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the possible causes of this issue?
- What other internal and external factors may have contributed?
- If you address this issue, what is your desired outcome?
The answers will help you determine which strategy to implement. Possibilities include:
- Hiring the right people (talent and temperament).
- Equipping managers and supervisors to be good leaders.
- Holding people accountable.
- Ensuring that reward and recognition programs are fair.
- Providing the tools, resources, and training to help your employees do their jobs well.
4. Ok – you have a plan. Time to implement it.
Make sure everyone involved knows the goal, and the timeline for the strategy. Give them the resources to achieve it. Beyond that, get your leadership on board – if they believe in it, chances are your other employees will, too.
5. You did it – but did it work? Measure your results.
On the end date of your strategy, perform the same assessment you did in the beginning to see what improvement or changes have occurred. If you reached your goal, Yay Team! If not, adjust to your strategy and give it another go.
For more tips on engaging your team members, check out www.highperformanceconsulting.com