As competition for talent heats up, one of the greatest challenges companies face today revolves around employee engagement. Employees are the core of every business. Even when all the strategic pieces of your business fit together, disgruntled and uninterested employees will lead to deep problems.
These questions that will lead to an understanding of your employee’s mindset:
- Are your employees passionate about their jobs?
- Do they come to the office happy and eager to work?
If your answer to either of those questions is no, or if you are unsure about the answer, you probably have disengaged employees. If you are coming to the sober realization that you do indeed have a disengaged workforce, there are simple steps you can take now to fix the problem.
Here are 7 first steps to increase employee engagement:
1. Keep employees in the loop
There is not much worse for morale than to keep employees guessing as to what is going on within your company. Schedule regular emails or, if you have the time, meetings in which you communicate openly with your employees. Keep them in the loop about current developments in the company, results and tasks ahead.
If you don’t, they will come to their own conclusions, which will probably be defeatist and unfounded. If you share information openly, they will feel included and appreciated instead, and are more likely to feel connected to their jobs and how they contribute to the overall company’s success.
2. Create an environment where input is appreciated
If you commandeer the decision-making process and don’t ask for input or ideas from your employees, they will not feel it is safe to contribute or to voice an opinion. This might hurt you the long run, as there is a possibility that a ground-breaking idea is not in your head, but in the minds of your subordinates.
Make sure to create a working environment in which everyone can speak their mind. Ask employees for feedback, during, and after the completion of, a project. Make sure to maintain an open-door policy and encourage people to drop in for a chat – as long as it is work-related.
3. Provide guidance
If you notice a member of your team is struggling with their assignment, show you care by offering help. This doesn’t have to be anything substantial; often a word of encouragement will be more than enough to help them power through. You might know something they don’t; a way to sort through some date quicker, or a more elegant way to write a particularly difficult draft – offer advice freely. Your employees will be grateful and know for a fact that you appreciate their hard work and are willing to help where you can.
4. Work-life balance – you can make a difference
Most people don’t live and breathe for their job; for many it’s a means to an end. A woman who works in your accounting office probably did a million tasks before she clocked in this morning, and she will do more after she clocks out. Make sure you provide some basic services on the premises that will make your employees’ lives easier. On-site laundry, dry cleaners, a convenience store or a day-care center will enable your employees to save valuable time they can then spend being a more productive member of your workforce.
5. Don’t make advancement talk taboo – always try to promote from within
Nobody wants to spend their life working as a junior developer or an assistant to the marketing manager. People have aspirations, and you should take them into account. Many managers don’t like to talk to their employees about their ambitions and desires. Don’t make the same mistake. Know what your employees are after and set them up for success.
It is important they can picture their future in your company. Then they will invest themselves more and will fight alongside you to grow and expand the business; it’s quite straightforward as people are more willing to sacrifice for something they have a stake in. This is why promoting from within is important. Whenever possible, screen your existing employees to see if you can find a fit for an important position. Give your own people a chance before hiring from outside.
6. Make constructive criticism a learning tool
No employee is flawless. When the time comes to criticize someone’s work, be tactful and respectful. Let them know they are neither the first nor the last to make a mistake, and be clear about what went wrong in the process. Review the work beforehand and have a ready solution for every mistake.
Brainstorm with the employee about how to avoid such mistakes in the future and turn the entire unpleasant conversation into a learning experience. They will be grateful you took the time to teach them something, instead of resorting to threats and bullying.
7. Compensate generously
When all’s said and done, you can be the best manager in the world and still your employees won’t be happy if they feel their work is not compensated accordingly. If you want to keep your star performers, check out what their colleagues are earning in your local area. The goal is to pay more in order to discourage them from moving on simply because of better monetary compensation. Keep in mind, while money is a motivator, it is not a powerful one. Underappreciated employees are more likely to leave you, regardless of the amount of money you give them.
Building an engaged work culture doesn’t happen overnight; these are the first steps to help your employees forge stronger ties to their job and to your company. Most of them don’t cost much more than being considerate; they simply require you to be more flexible and ready to step in and lead.
For more insight on how to retain top talent, see Employee Engagement Vs. Satisfaction: What Is The Difference?
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