Boosting employee engagement levels involves a well-orchestrated eco-system where employees feel as thought they are a part of a company or organization. When employees are engaged they are committed to not only their personal and professional goals, but also to the overarching pursuits of the larger group.
Engaged team members come early, stay late, work hard, and promote company culture, even when managers aren’t looking. These employees embrace their organization, adopt the group’s values and goals, arrive to their jobs motivated, and take pride in their professional identity.
Sounds fantastic, right? Employee engagement is a dream for most managers today.=
Sometimes in order to understand a concept, it’s helpful to consider what the opposite case looks like. So, maybe it’s helpful to consider what a group without employee engagement looks like.
Disengaged employees are just that – disengaged. They don’t speak much with their superiors, may band together around the vending machine to swap complaints, and make a bee-line for the door at closing time. They wouldn’t dream of attending an after hours event, or speak highly of their organization over the weekend. Putting it simply, they don’t want to be there. Naturally, this scenario certainly is not ideal for a company looking to grow.
So, how does a manager or management team create an environment where employees are energized, ready to work, and support the company’s bigger picture?
Here are 10 quick and easy ways to immediately to boost your organization’s employee engagement.
1. Get employees involved in your business plan.
What’s going on behind the scenes doesn’t have to be a secret to your team members. While some specifics may naturally need to be kept private and reserved for executives, allowing your team members into some of the background planning could really boost morale and employee engagement.
Share with them the organization’s current goals and concerns, and let them in on what the company is doing moving forward. Employees will have a better idea about what’s on your plate, and will feel like part of the process.
2. Make certain everybody is in the communication loop.
Many people who end up leaving organizations leave because they don’t have the knowledge necessary to perform their jobs. Without the proper information, they are frustrated, confused, and left in the dark.
If you don’t have one already, set up a system for beginning and maintaining communication with your team. This could involve pairing new hires with more seasoned employees as mentors, and also maintaining the open lines of communication once they’re established and acclimated. Knowledge is power in the workplace.
3. Get everybody talking.
Many times, employees and teams within organizations don’t know what everybody else is up to. It can make a huge difference to get these different teams together on a regular basis to talk about what they are working on. This knowledge sharing can serve to inspire other teams and at the very least let others know about what kind of work is being accomplished.
On a monthly basis, consider rotating different teams to present on a particular project they are working on or something they’ve recently accomplished. This bolsters a sense of pride in one’s own area of the business as well as demonstrating the hard work of the entire group.
4. Consider showing them the financials.
Wow, I know. You don’t have to share everything. But, sharing a quick overview of the company’s financial information can demonstrate how employees’ efforts contribute to the overall bottom line. This kind of sharing encourages employees to take responsibility for the overall success of the business, and let’s them know they serve an important role. Consider offering up this information on a quarterly basis, and let employees know your specific financial goals for the upcoming quarter.
5. Offer training for greater employee engagement.
Employees feel invested in when employers invest in training. Training not only strengthens knowledge base but it also affords employees a break from the regular – a new experience. Think about their needs, wants, and schedules. Better yet, enlist the team to help you brainstorm potential training opportunities. You may be surprised about what they’d like to brush up on. Remember, this can be job-specific training or overall professional development.
6. Get outside together and see your team in a different light.
Fresh air does a world of good for everyone. Everyone is used to seeing each other in the workplace so take it out of context, and get everyone outside. Encourage walking breaks.
Arrange a charity walk or fun run, and choose a cause everyone can get behind or a charity that may have some personal meaning for a particular team member. Make it a friendly competition with prizes and photos. Step it up a notch further by involving families and friends for a truly memorable event.
7. Pull a late night and get employees engaged.
What? Why would anyone want to stay late? Let’s pose it this way. Instead of the monotonous work day, arrange for a work night or even just a fun work activity. Plan a fun night out to get everyone together with a common goal, such as brainstorming new marketing strategies. The aim is to be as productive as you can possibly be in a single night. Wait until you see what the team comes up with when you shake things up a bit.
8. Think about building something meaningful with your team.
Rather than just getting your employees together in a room for a run-of-the-mill team activity, think about getting them to join together for something a bit more meaningful.
As an example, an organization called Team Bonding: Harness the Power of Play facilitates charity bike build events for groups of all sizes. Team members are armed with wrenches and other tools in order to build bikes for underprivileged kids. If you don’t have a specific charity in mind to donate such a bike, Team Bonding has relationships with Boys and Girls Clubs and Bike for Tykes.
9. Make some time to talk with employees one-on-one.
One of the greatest markers of employee engagement is whether or not employees feel comfortable enough to talk with their managers. While it is important that employees bring workplace issues and questions to their managers, research is showing that it is also important for employees to believe their employers care about them, and their personal lives. This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out discussion. A simple check-in once in a while can let your team know you care about more than just their workplace performance.
10. Get to know your employee’s personal career goals.
The act of asking employees about their future goals for their careers also let’s them know your involved and care about their best interests. It’s also not uncommon for managers to be surprised about the feedback. As a manager, it’s your job to align a team member’s aspiration with the overall goals of the organization. Once an employee knows their future is in mind, they will be willing to work hard to work towards common organizational goals.
Get the focus back on the people of your teams, where you’ll always find a strong return on investment. What are some ways you keep employees engaged in your organization?