Your business is only as strong as your weakest employee. That’s an old business adage but it holds true today. When thinking about the success of your business, it’s important to think about empowering your employees to do their best work.
If you’re determining how best to do that in your own place of work, you’re likely focused on how to increase employee engagement. An employee who is engaged with the work they are doing will be able to achieve far more than one who isn’t connecting with the task at hand.
High engagement leads to high performance and that’s exactly what you want as a business owner, at the end of the day. What steps can you take to increase employee engagement? Read on and we’ll walk you through a few major steps you can take.
1. Let Your Team Speak For Themselves
An employee who feels like they have no say in how work at the office progresses is much more likely to be one who is also disengaged with the work around them.
If you’re attempting to better employee engagement in your office, it’s essential that you consider the input of those that you’re trying to get to be engaged. Their thoughts on the matter are likely to be hugely helpful, after all, they should know what gets them motivated!
In addition, just the act of asking them their opinion on the matter goes to show that their feelings hold weight around the office. Their thoughts and feelings matter. When an employee feels the opposite of this, that their opinions don’t matter, it’s much more likely they will become unenthused with the work they are doing.
We all like to feel as if our opinions matter. Letting your employees speak their minds about any matter of work-related subjects is one of the most sure-fire ways to increase the level of engagement in your place of work.
It’s a step that you should not miss out on taking. Opening up a dialogue can make a world of difference in your workplace.
2. Set Goals & Reward Strong Performance
We all can get a bit lethargic when we don’t have something to work towards. Work for the sake of work itself can tend to get a little tiring. Some extra motivation can go a long way towards creating an environment where we as humans do our best.
This is why it’s important to ensure you are rewarding your team when they do special work. The reward is something of a symbol, it represents something to work toward and strive toward.
It doesn’t matter if the goal itself doesn’t have direct meaning to your team, it’s about the challenge of it. Can we as a team make this many sales by this date? It becomes a similar mentality to sports.
When something is just difficult enough, people want to step up the challenge and face it. Setting various goals for your team can be an important step in honing their attention, focus, and drive.
When they eventually do reach those goals, it’s important to take a moment to celebrate. Yes, there is likely still much more work to be done. However, if you don’t celebrate and reward strong performance when it occurs, you’re likely to burn your team out.
When you reach your goals, throw a party. Take the team on a vacation, in or out of town. There are many great incentives you can offer so as to motivate your team. You want to connect the meeting of goals with a sense of victory and achievement.
Even before you reach the goals you set, it’s a good idea to celebrate strong performance. Highlight your team members publicly when they do extra special work. Offer small rewards and acknowledgments on a weekly basis.
This will make your team feel appreciated for the work they are doing. It will also keep them engaged and continue to drive them towards your overall goals.
3. Communication is Key
How large is your business? The bigger your team gets, the more the bonds between yourself and your employees fall or weaken. The bonds between various co-workers can also weaken, impacting the overall efficiency of your team.
It can be hard to keep everyone on the same page and in the loop. Unfortunately, the side effect of this troubling reality is that it becomes much easier for an employee to become disengaged.
They don’t feel like they are directly part of the action in their day-to-day work life and thus begin to grow lethargic. This can be a big problem for you down the line. You want your team to be doing the very best work that they can.
How can you get around this issue? Communicate regularly with your team and do as clearly and concisely as possible. You don’t want anyone who works at your business to feel as if they are adrift from the mission at hand.
Send more digital communications that feel personal and are intended to give your employees the information they need. You can click here to learn more about innovative ways to communicate digitally with your team.
Host some in-person meetings (but not too many!) where you can go over key information together, face-to-face.
You’ll need to decide what form and how frequent these talks and detail-sharing sessions should be. It will all depend on the size of your business, the work that you do, and the overall company culture that you’ve created.
The more you can prioritize communication in your daily routine, the more engagement you ought to see in your team of employees.
Infographic created by Insperity, an employee benefits outsourcing company
4. Avoid Micromanagement
Things are stressful, time is short, and there are all sorts of problems that need to be worked out. You can’t be blamed for feeling like there isn’t time to delegate, that you need to just hop into the middle of things and sort everything out yourself.
It’s an understandable impulse, but not a good one. While it may save you trouble at that moment, you’re creating an environment where you’ll have to do this time and time again, every time a stressful situation arises.
Plus, you’ll also be taking power out of your employee’s hands. They’ll feel that you don’t trust their abilities or that they aren’t a true and valued member of the team. They’ll rely on you more to handle things instead of taking initiative on your own.
Eventually, you’ll run into the feeling that you’re running your whole operation on your own, and you’ll have no one but yourself to blame.
Avoid this whole conundrum by refusing to micromanage your team. Even when times are tough, allow your employees to rise to the occasion. There’s a reason you hired them, after all, and they should have the skills and know-how to handle these problems.
Even if they don’t, there’s no way to help them develop these skills besides throwing them in the deep end. They might end up thanking you for the experience later.
A little trust can go a long way in ensuring that your team will show up and get the job done with smarts and passion.
5. Invest in a Welcoming Environment
How can you expect your team to show up engaged and ready to go if you don’t provide a working environment that supports this kind of behavior? Engagement and employee well-being are linked. You can’t get the best out of your team if they aren’t at their best themselves.
Not caring for your employees is either going to turn them off to you and their work at worst or simply burn them out at best. You can’t ask your team to burn the candle at both ends. It will eventually catch up to them, you, and the overall health of your business as a whole.
There are many actionable steps you can take to create a working environment that prioritizes employee well-being. You can provide physical and mental health benefits, from paid gym access to appointments with mental health therapists.
Watch how many hours you ask employees to work and how much you ask them to split their time between your office and the rest of their lives.
Create a physical space that is healthy, comfortable, and engaging to be in. Look into ergonomic solutions for your company and ensure no one’s daily work needs are contributing to the deterioration of their mental or physical health.
Keeping your employee’s overall health in mind will help to keep them not only happy but engaged. Employee engagement depends upon your team having the energy and overall health to be able to give it their all.
It’s your responsibility as an employer to provide that.
6. Lead By Example
As an employer, you’re not only the person who ensures everyone gets paid, but you’re a leader. As a leader, it’s important you set an example for the rest of the team to abide by.
Take a look at your own behavior around the workplace and office. Are you demonstrating the kinds of behaviors, habits, and attitudes that you hope to see from your team?
If the answer is no, you might need to do some serious thinking about the message you’re sending out to your employees. You are saying “Do as I say, not as I do,” and that’s going to be a huge damper on the overall level of engagement your team is going to be able to provide.
If you don’t bring enthusiasm and passion for the work you’re doing yourself, how can you expect your team to? It just doesn’t make any sense.
The person leading the pack needs to set the pace for others, so make sure you’re own performance is where it needs to be before looking into how to provoke better performance in others.
7. Carve Out Career Paths
Who do you think is more likely to be engaged at work: someone who thinks they are advancing in their career, or someone who believes they will be doing this same job for the rest of their life?
We’ll assume we don’t need to give you the answer.
It’s obvious that those employees who feel like they are moving ahead in their lives will be more engaged with the work that they are doing. A sense of progress is essential to engagement, in fact, as we’ve learned time and time again from various studies.
It’s important to take the time to lay out paths for career advancement within your workplace. Set certain expectations: how long might someone need to work before they move to a higher position, what positions lead to where what kind of experience and new skills can you provide for your team?
These questions are important even outside of the subject of employee engagement.
Ensuring that employees feel as if they are moving forward in their lives will ensure that your employee retention rate stays high and it will also ensure you attract the best new talent to your door.
No one wants to work somewhere that doesn’t seem to provide a future for them, after all.
How To Increase Employee Engagement
If you’re hoping to get the best out of your team at work, you’re likely focused on how to increase employee engagement. The more engaged your employees are, the better results your business is likely to produce in the long run.
The above steps are easy, actionable, and result-oriented methods to increase engagement at your place of work. Implementing one or more of these ideas should help produce big changes in your workplace.
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