Every experienced manager knows that engaged employees are crucial to a team successfully achieving their goals. But even if your intuition tells you that is the case, you may not realise just how much employees who are engaged with the company and their job responsibilities matter in helping your company achieve its business goals.
Engaged workers stand apart from their non-engaged counterparts at the office – who doesn’t love the new motivation they bring to everything? They’re more likely to go the extra mile, bringing passion to every task that they undertake. In contrast, disengaged employees are not only commonly unhappy at work, but they also monopolise a manager’s time as they need supervision to ensure they’re carrying out their daily responsibilities (and no-one likes to have to be a micro-manager!)
Engaged employees are a rare find; in fact, a recent Gallup global study found that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. It’s not all negative though; disengaged employees are perhaps one of the greatest untapped opportunities a business has to improve their performance and productivity. Converting these employees into engaged workers takes an effective strategy – so we’ve put together the top six things you can provide that will get your people more engaged.
1. Effective Leaders
Engagement comes from the top, so it’s important to coach managers on how to implement an engagement plan into the office and how to track its performance. No employee’s going to stay engaged if their manager isn’t, so managers and company executives must set an example of the behaviours in which you want your employees to display. The NY Times reported that in companies where leaders model the desired behaviour, employees were 55% more engaged and likely to mimic these desired behaviours.
Effective leadership involves being accessible and approachable. In other words, don’t lock management away in a secret part of the office away where employees can’t easily find them, with the only form of communication over emails. Instead, to avoid an “us versus them” mentality, offer guidance and commendation and support to employees, and publically recognise their achievements either at staff meetings or via your company’s intranet.
2. Open Dialogue
One strategy for building employee engagement is by using an effective employee survey. An appropriate survey encourages open and honest communication between the employees and management. Use specific and relevant questions that create actionable responses. Don’t fall into the trap of simply collecting a large amount of data that gets no response – no-one likes their feedback to be ignored!
Make engagement a priority by discussing the results of a recent survey at meetings and keep them up to date with future improvements that can be made within the company or the team. It’s vital to keep employees involved in the process so they can see their voice is being heard. By involving employees in decision-making and taking the time to listen to their suggestions they feel that they have a say in the company’s operations. The result? In most cases, they’ll become more personally invested in their work – which is exactly what you’re after.
3. Opportunity for growth
Employees who are left to their day-to-day activities day on end or left to fend for themselves when it comes to training and development are likely to fast become disengaged employees who may end up resenting their workplace. On the other hand, employees who are being continuously challenged and are given opportunities to further their learnings and grow in their chosen career field are more likely to show higher levels of commitment to the company and to their job tasks. And with millennials going to become the majority of the workforce over the coming years, it’s worth paying attention to the 87% of them who say that career growth or development opportunities are important to them!
Managers should be encouraged to talk to their employees often about their career plan and where they feel the gaps are, or alternatively, what new skills they want to learn and how the company can make this possible. Ultimately, this shows that the company cares about helping the employee maintain job satisfaction and that they are a valued asset to the company.
4. Supportive Environment
The New York Times shared that employees are 67% more engaged when their supervisors take an active interest in supporting the employee with their roles and future opportunities. By creating an appreciative atmosphere, employees feel more compelled to complete their roles to a higher standard because they know their work is appreciated by management. Employees also feel safe to go to their manager for guidance with a particular task that they are unsure about. Overall, a supportive atmosphere creates trust, restores strained relationships, develops pride and dissolved frustration.
5. Improved Communication
Communication is key within any environment, and, as has already become clear through the other secrets to increasing employee engagement, it’s something that needs to increase across the board. Improving communication to increasing employee engagement has become one of the central purposes for implementing tools such as an intranet within a company. Intranets are an excellent solution to the lack of engagement with employees, as they offer tools that foster communication, collaboration and participation across all departments and employees within a company. There are a number of features a company can include when developing an intranet such as forums for open informal communication, calendars detailing events and meetings, feedback surveys to connect employees with managers, and a company newsfeed to keep employees informed of updates and employee achievements. Overall, these communication features enable a business to better connect with its employees and employees to better connect with other employees – leading to a productive and engaged workforce.
6. Meaningful Work
When employees believe that their work is important and has value to the company, they are more likely to be more engaged. One of a manager’s responsibilities is to frequently reinforce the importance of an employee’s contributions and reward them for their outstanding work. When employees feel as though they are making positive and meaningful contributions to the company, they start taking pride in the results of their efforts and productivity soars. The direct communication between employees and managers about their work efforts and other responsibilities creates a connection between an employee’s task and the company’s success – where even the smallest task has some positive effect.
A highly engaged workforce means the difference between a company that thrives and one that struggles. According to Gallup, higher workplace engagement leads to 37% lower absenteeism, 41% fewer safety incidents, and 41% fewer quality defects, so it’s worth the effort. Don’t let your workforce fall into the 87% of employees who aren’t engaged. Help your company stand out from the pack and actively make engagement part of your company’s strategy to success.
This article was originally sourced from Business 2 Community.