Engaged employees know their importance in an organization and how they and their role fit into the business’s mission and vision. They are keen on doing their jobs and make an effort to do them well. However, not every organization is fortunate enough to inspire such engagement in its employees.
So, what can we do as managers to engage employees while keeping them satisfied at work? First, we need to understand what employee engagement is and why you need it for your workplace.
Employee Engagement and Disengagement
While new employees are excited about their careers, as time passes many of them start to feel a disconnect with their goals, jobs and their workplace. There are multiple reasons why this disconnect occurs and why some employees become disengaged while others do not.
Lack of leadership, weak management, and communication are three major causes of employee disengagement. Receiving no constructive feedback or a lack of one-on-one meetings with managers can cause employees to feel less valued and unappreciated. Couple this with a heavy task load and employees lose engagement quickly. Without meeting with managers to discuss workloads, your work pipeline can get slowed down, leaving employees feeling overwhelmed.
Couple all these operational issues with a lack of appreciation for work done, lack of training, support and help from other employees and needed tools can become a recipe for disaster. Having all these issues, coupled with management that recognizes employees for bearing with these issues can make a difference between an engaged and disengaged employee.
The other major factor is that of pay. Not paying employees enough for their work, or planning their career progression can lead to a loss of interest in continuing work with the business.
Improved workplace = Improved employee engagement
There is no magic switch for pushing employees towards high engagement in a workplace. There is a mix of things that usually help in improving employee engagement. Try focusing on a few of these seven engagement strategies to see what yields the best results for your team and business.
1. Inspire through Leadership
There is a popular saying ‘People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses’ which is true. Staff in leadership roles should be guided towards supporting and guiding their team members. New managers should also be supported in handling their teams and encouraged in team-building efforts. Make sure that managers also know that they are supported.
2. Make Way for Employee Growth
Engaged employees are motivated to do well at work. Along with many other factors, professional development and training also play a major role in supporting this. Professional development that is scalable and holds value in the job market will encourage employees to do well. Ambitious employees will perform better with career progression and training support.
3. Reward and Recognize
Being noticed for your efforts is a good feeling. This could be something built into the work culture. Like having managers and senior managers communicate with younger staff about their tasks and how it relates to their tasks. It could be something as simple as an employee of the month board or even a weekly coffee or games break for jobs well done. ]
4. Practice collaborative Goalsetting.
Having set tasks and goals is a basic management tool for improving business performance. It is also helpful in employee performance. Having teams or staff set their own goals makes sure that they are involved with the task and accountable. Having a collaborative goal-setting process and reward systems for goals achieved boosts employee engagement.
5. Be compassionate
While business is key, make sure that there is room for life. There are always hiccups, children or spouses can fall sick, and the employee themselves can be sick. We all have a lot going on in our personal lives which can affect our job performance. Having an empathetic environment at work can help employees feel nurtured and valued.
6. Main Channels of Communication
Stay in touch with how your team is doing with a casual, two-way line of communication. Having an open-door policy for all key managers is a great idea. Managers should take the time to listen to their staff whenever they want to.
In case people are not reaching out, actively seek out shy or reluctant members to assess why they are not communicating.
7. Strengthen work relationships
At times, work is just work and is boring to do. Having an engaged team would help in difficult or boring tasks through a support system. Having good team bonding will allow for easier working.
Team bonding can be built up with social interactions, team-building exercises, and even weekly coffee meetings or birthday celebrations of all staff.
Sadia Zaheer holds a Masters in Business Administration from IBA, Karachi. After working in several financial institutions in Client Management, Corporate Lending, Islamic Banking and Product Management she jumped careers to pursue a career in writing.
She is a Finance, Business and HR Development writer with four years of experience. She reads a lot and takes care of her multiple cats to remain calm.