Employee engagement doesn’t come from a suggestion box. Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organization to give of their best each day, committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being. Engaging employees is the process of enabling them to think, behave, act, react and control their work in more autonomous ways, as to be in control of one’s own destiny.
Engagement may not be a new concept to you, but many organizations experience problems because they don’t know how to ‘live it’. Most corporations, however, fail to recognize and empower their most important assets: employees. Engagement in the workplace is an often-misunderstood concept. Employee engagement is a term that many managers and organizations think they understand, but few actually do, and even fewer really put into practice.
Here are 5 ways that you can improve employee engagement in your organization:
1. Encourage open communication
You can get insight into what things are important to the employee by using surveys, suggestion boxes and team meetings. Be open-minded and encourage them to express their ideas and perspectives without criticism. This means putting into practice everything you have learned about effective listening. Address their concerns in the best way you can.
2. Support employees in their work and growth
How many of you have responded to a subordinate’s idea as brilliant or even good. Success begets success. You can support employee growth by providing education and learning opportunities, cross training, coaching, and any other interactions that support employees’ personal development.
3. Collaborate and share on problem-solving
When employees get the idea that their manager or leader is the one who has to solve all the problems, it takes away from their sense of empowerment, and ultimately is likely to decrease engagement over time. Encourage team members to take responsibility, and work through problems or issues on their own, or collaboratively. It’s not the manager’s job to fix everyone else’s problems.
4. Share More, Not Less.
Even in a small company, silos emerge. A policy of more sharing will help everyone stay in touch with what others are doing, and create a collective expectation. Keeping everyone pointed in the same direction is hard; sharing more about what’s going on, how you’re doing things, reasoning behind decisions, etc. will help.
5. Culture of Continuous Learning:
Last but not the least is culture of continuous learning. Companies with higher number of knowledge workers grow at much higher pace as compared to competition and their growth is mostly sustainable. Training programs, workshops, brainstorming sessions, and focus group discussions can help employees improve their knowledge. In addition, this process provides peer-to-peer learning opportunities that result in improved performance.
Employee involvement cultivates an atmosphere of collaboration, increases retention of talented staff, and intensifies dedication and commitment. Employees develop a sense of ownership over proposed changes when they are involved. Employee engagement can not only make a real difference, it can set the great organizations apart from the merely good ones.
Empowering employees is the ongoing process of providing the tools, training, resources; encouragement and motivation your workers need to perform at the optimum level. If your organization is looking for a way to speed processes and still produce quality materials and services, focus on employee empowerment. When you show an employee you trust them, and give them timely information and the authority to find solutions, they will be able to solve problems and provide solutions more rapidly than someone without that empowerment.
Engagement for the sake of engagement is just that. Happy employees are good, but happy employees that contribute to the business by performing in exceptional ways are better. It’s also critical to remind employees and management that engagement is a two way street – the company will do great things for employees and employees will do great things for the company. Very few companies get this right, but those that do create a virtuous cycle of employee engagement where the company does more for its people and the people do more for the company which in turn causes the company to do even more for its people.
What other advice would you suggest? How do you get engagement in your company?