Keeping your employees engaged can be tricky and requires a long term strategy to ensure that it doesn’t fall by the wayside when your organisation gets busy. Ensuring that you have a strategy in place is one way of combatting these fluctuations, and having a few tricks up your sleeve to boost employee engagement when necessary can work wonders.
1. GIVE EMPLOYEES CONTROL OVER THEIR WORK
One of the tricks to keeping your employees engaged in the work they undertake every day is the ability to step back and make space for them to have control over their work. That could come in the form of creative control, the space to manage their own time and workload, or involvement in crafting longer term goals and articulating how their daily efforts fit in to this broader strategy.
For Inc.com contributor Hector Macdonald, strategy and communications consultant and director of Core Q, ‘people who can decide when and where they work often put in many more hours and much more productive effort than those who have to follow strict rules and timetables.’
Macdonald also suggests that by allowing employees to craft their own schedules, ‘they may also come up with better ways of working, and more innovative solutions.’ Since one of the main aims of striving for employee engagement, beyond making your organisation a great place to work, is to drive innovation, allowing this control is vital.
By trusting your employees and team members to complete their work in a timely and positive manner, Macdonald believes it is possible to boost employee engagement levels, without putting your long term aims at risk.
2. BE AN ENGAGED AND ENGAGING LEADER
One of the areas in which many organisations fall down when it comes to employee engagement is making the mistake of thinking that it is only the employees’ responsibility to be engaged. Asking your employees to be engaged without being engaged yourself is destined to fail, and so adding this to your list of what it takes to be a good leader is a must if you are going to boost employee engagement.
According to Forbes contributor Brent Gleeson, a former US Navy SEAL and founder of TakingPoint Leadership, ‘no team can be engaged nor believe in the mission unless the leaders are engaged and passionately devoted to the purpose and cause.’
Arguing that ‘the behavior of leaders and managers dictates the relationship between engagement and organizational outcomes,’ Gleeson believes that leaders must be able to communicate clearly, follow through with concrete actions and actively prioritise the well-being of their team if they are going to create an environment in which their employees are engaged. By understanding that engagement must be a holistic process across all levels of an organisation, leaders can better boost employee engagement.
3. BE MINDFUL OF THE LITTLE THINGS
While of course employee engagement is a long term aim that requires a long term strategy, focusing on the future rather than the here and now can lead you to forget the everyday, little things that contribute to the general ambience of your workplace and the impact this has on employees.
Gordon Tredgold, business consultant and writer for Inc.com, has outlined eight helpful things leaders can do daily to boost employee engagement. One of these is to let people see you, rather than being an absent boss constantly holed up in meetings or behind a closed door. Of course you have a busy schedule, but Tredgold believes it is vital to ‘get out of your office, spend time walking about taking an interest in people and what’s going on’ if you want employees to feel engaged and valued.
Another simple tip closely linked to this is to be approachable. Arguing that ‘it's difficult to be engaged with people that you don't feel connected to’ and that ‘people will readily follow, and engage, with bosses that they know, like, and trust,’ Tredgold sees being approachable as an image that should be fostered daily in order to drive engagement.
This could be done by setting aside a little time each week where people could come and approach you. Something as simple as eating alone in the staff canteen or taking a walk around the office gives team members the opportunity to engage in discussion if they feel it necessary or to come to you with ideas and suggestions.
By stepping back to give employees control over their work, being engaged yourself and ensuring that you are approachable and visible, it is possible to boost employee engagement levels on a daily basis that feeds into long term results.
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