How to Engage Employees: 10 Ways to Unlock Organizational Potential
There is a long-standing dialogue regarding how employees should interact with and contribute to their organizations. However, the responsibility to foster a conducive environment for employee engagement doesn't solely rest on the shoulders of the workers. Company leaders, including managers and executives, play a crucial role in shaping a workspace that not only engages employees but also promotes job satisfaction.
Engaged employees significantly influence a company's overall performance, creating a domino effect that strengthens the entire organization. It's clear: employee engagement is important for the long-term health and success of a business.
The Alarming Number of Disengaged Employees
According to the 2013 Gallup “State of the Global Workplace” there are three types of employee engagement.
- Engaged Employees:
Employees feel a strong connection to their organization and are passionate about work, actively contributing to company success.
- Not Engaged Employees:
These employees are emotionally distant from their work. They accomplish what´s needed but lack enthusiasm.
- Actively Disengaged Employees:
These employees may actively undermine the efforts of their more engaged counterparts, contributing to a negative workplace environment.
The alarming part is that the study shows around 70% of the workers in the US are not engaged in the workplace. That means 7 out of 10 employees are disengaged or even hostile towards the company.
A Netsurvey conducted by Bain and Company, questioning 200,000 employees from 40 companies across 60 countries, adds to this narrative, revealing three disconcerting trends regarding engagement:
The longer the employees remain at the company, the less engaged they are. The most experienced workers with the deepest knowledge of the company process were typically the least engaged.
More disengagement at the frontline. Engagement scores decline at the lower levels of a company, which implies that upper management doesn't recognize the dissatisfaction of frontline employees.
Sales and Service show the lowest levels of engagement. At the frontline, where most interactions with the customers happen, the employees seem to be very disengaged.
Why Is Employee Engagement Important?
When employees are disengaged, not only does productivity suffer, but the company also risks higher turnover, low morale, and poor customer service. To attain successful outcomes, companies must invest in employee engagement strategies that genuinely make their team members feel valued and included.
Section 1: Proven Strategies for Employee Engagement
To reach the goal of having engaged employees, there are 10 employee engagement strategies that you as a leader can take.
1. Set clear expectations
Managers must clearly communicate to employees what their tasks are and what expectations they have for them. Empower them to figure out how to meet these expectations, thus fostering a sense of ownership and job satisfaction.
2. Communicate clearly and constantly
The most important part of a manager's job is communicating effectively. Make sure information is presented regularly, using memos, newsletters, training, and development programs to convey information effectively. Ask questions and make sure you are understood. Employees must know how they are connected to the organization's strategy and what part they play every step of the way.
3. Benefit from employees' knowledge and talent
Take advantage of your employees' skills and expertise to create an organization with highly engaged employees. Especially older employees have a lot of experience and inside knowledge of the company and can be of great benefit.
4. Establish shared values
Create a common purpose by clearly defining the desired emotional experience you want to provide to your customers. Shared values can make employees feel engaged and contribute to a unified company culture.
5. Maintain customer focus
To frontline employees, it is absolutely clear that the customer comes first, but this vision has to be carried throughout the entire organization. Help all employees understand their role in customer satisfaction and overall company success.
6. Use customer stories to promote vision
Collect and share customer stories that demonstrate how your products or services have made a difference. These narratives can boost employee engagement by showing team members the direct impact of their work.
7. Listen to your employees
The frontline employees have the best knowledge of what needs to be improved. Every organization has issues and needs fixes, and the people struggling with them know best what is not working. Employers must be willing to listen to employee feedback, ideas, and suggestions, and remove the hierarchical barriers in order to provide the best service possible to their customers. This will lead to improved processes and foster employee engagement.
8. Empower frontline decision-making
Enable frontline employees to solve problems on the spot. This level of trust can improve job satisfaction and customer experiences.
9. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity
Mistakes are inevitable but are also valuable learning opportunities. Giving employees the opportunity to approach tasks in different ways will lead to innovation and individual development. As Thomas Edison said: “I haven't failed, I just found 10,000 ways that don't work.”
10. Maintain open dialogues
Sharing both good and bad news fosters an open culture where no topic is taboo. Open dialogues contribute to work-life balance and general well-being.
Section 2: Advanced Tips for Enhancing Employee Engagement
1. Personalized Training Programs
Implementing formal training programs that are tailored to individual employee needs can dramatically improve employee engagement. Training should be an ongoing part of the company culture, as continual learning and development often correlate with higher engagement levels.
2. Work-Life Balance
The importance of work-life balance in today’s hectic world can't be stressed enough. A flexible work schedule can help retain employees by enhancing their work-life balance, contributing to overall job satisfaction.
3. Peer Recognition Programs
Peer recognition can be a simple yet effective way to engage employees. Such programs can form a part of the broader employee engagement strategy, serving to enhance engagement and foster a sense of community among team members.
4. Regular Check-ins
Leaders should have regular check-ins with their employees. This not only helps to catch any issues early on but also makes employees feel valued and heard.
5. Transparent Career Pathways
Nothing disengages an employee faster than a dead-end job. Offering transparent career pathways can significantly improve employee engagement by providing them with a sense of purpose and direction.
Section 3: Fine-Tuning Your Employee Engagement Strategy
An effective employee engagement strategy is not set in stone; it's dynamic. It requires ongoing assessment and fine-tuning. This could mean running an annual employee engagement survey to gauge effectiveness or updating training programs to better meet employee needs.
Quantitative metrics can provide a lot of insights, but don't underestimate the power of qualitative feedback. Open forums, suggestion boxes, and one-on-one interviews can offer deeper understandings that can enhance your employee engagement strategy.
Company Culture as the Bedrock of Engagement
The role of company culture in engaging employees can’t be emphasized enough. A positive company culture that values each employee as an individual can drastically improve engagement levels.
In this digital age, technology can be a great enabler to improve employee engagement. Platforms like Speakap can offer innovative solutions tailored to your organizational needs.
It's evident that employee engagement strategies are not just HR buzzwords; they are critical components that affect a company's bottom line. Leaders have a significant role to play in creating a workplace environment that not only retains employees but also enriches their professional lives. Regular employee engagement surveys can provide actionable insights into what's working and what needs adjustment.
Implementing formal training programs, encouraging work-life balance, and continually improving employee engagement are ongoing processes. The most successful companies are those that make a genuine, sustained effort to engage their workforce, leading to happier employees and more successful outcomes.
So if you're curious to improve employee engagement in your organization, Speakap offers customized solutions that fit your needs.