Every day when you finish work, you make a conscious decision and choice whether or not to go back to work the following day. When you are a leader, your team are making these decisions every single day. So what are you doing to ensure that your people do show back up to work tomorrow, and that they show up with a positive mindset?
Engaged employees are our strongest asset. Organisations rely on the energy, commitment and engagement of their people in order to survive and thrive. In times of disruption, such as what we are currently experiencing, employee engagement is even more important than ever. Engaged employees consistently outperform their colleagues by solving new problems, innovating and identifying new customers. They drive performance and innovation and move the organisation forward. According to Gallup engaged employees are 17% more productive and 21% more profitable. Therefore, shouldn’t we prioritise engaging employees to create sustained growth?
If you or your team members are engaged, they should:
- Know what is expected of them and the work quality expected
- Clearly understand the organisational strategic objectives and purpose and fully understand how they contribute to each
- Have the resources and training available to succeed and thrive in their role
- Have the opportunity to do what they do best – every day
- Frequently receive recognition, praise and constructive criticism
- Trust their leaders and believe they have their best interests at heart
- Believe that their voice is heard and valued
- Have opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally.
Therefore, if you feel that your team members are not engaged (67% of the workforce) or actively disengaged (18% of the workforce), what are the steps that you can take to increase employee engagement?
How can we improve employee engagement?
- Communicate openly and frequently – use the various digital tools available to communicate regularly. Today’s workforce crave, and expect, regular and ongoing feedback. Gone are the days when feedback was provided annually at annual performance reviews. Have regular scheduled meetings and check ins for those working remotely. Tell them what is expected of them and ask questions to ensure that there is clarity and that they truly understand what the expectations are of them.
- Create and communicate a powerful vision for the organisation and engage employees in achieving the vision, ensuring that they are aware of the role that they play within that bigger picture. When there are clearly defined organisational strategic objectives, and these are communicated to everyone within the organisation, employees will buy into it more completely and understand how their role and actions are aligned to the overall goals.
- Provide training and coaching – in order to build a culture of trust, accountability and improved engagement, you have to set the team up for success. This means providing the proper training and development opportunities while removing obstacles. Creating a culture that fosters continuous development helps employees build the skills that are necessary for them to be successful in their current and future dynamic, changing roles but also communicates the message that the organisation values improvement, continuous development and believes in the potential of their employees.
- Make sure that all employees have the necessary tools, systems and processes that they need to do what they do best every day.
- Reward and recognition are significant contributors to employee engagement. It is important to frequently recognise and reward people and their individual contributions. Even celebrating the small wins can have a profound impact on individuals and the teams around them.
- When we empower, support and trust our people to work autonomously and refer back to leadership when more guidance is needed, we build and develop a solid and strong long-term trust based relationship.
- Give people a voice and a seat at the table and make sure that their voice is listened to and heard. Communicate back with them and ensure that if their ideas and suggestions are not being used on one occasion, that they are advised why so that they continue to offer their voice, ideas and suggestions in the future. Encourage participation and innovation.
- Learn to lead with empathy – use the power of connection to help our people through challenges and to build communication, connection and collaboration that will lead to long-term engagement and high performance.