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. In this case, we'll consider what a group of disengaged employees might look 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. This scenario is certainly 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 boost your organization’s employee engagement.
What’s going on behind the scenes doesn’t have to be a secret to your team members. While some specifics may 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 the company's horizon, and will feel like part of the process. Leaving employees in the dark about major changes could leave them feeling caught off guard and confused.
Many people who end up leaving an organization do so 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.
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 demonstrates the hard work of the entire group.
We know what you're probably thinking right about now, but you don’t have to share everything. 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. This may just prove to be that extra push your employees needed to stay engaged in your company.
Employees feel their work is important and valued when employers invest in training. Training not only strengthens their 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 with what they’d like to brush up on. Remember, this can be job-specific training or overall professional development. Engaged employees will look for and want this out of their experience with the company.
Fresh air does a world of good for everyone. Employees are used to seeing each other in the workplace, however, they may have more opportunities to engage outside. Even something as simple as encouraging walk breaks could help employee engagement.
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. You could even step it up a notch by involving families and friends for a truly memorable event.
Why would anyone want to stay late? Try going about 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.
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.
The act of asking employees about their future professional and career goals also let’s them know you're involved and care about their best interests. It’s also not uncommon for managers to be surprised by their 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 towards common organizational goals.
Get the focus back on the employees that make up your teams, where you’ll always find a strong return on investment. What are some ways that you keep employees engaged in your organization?