The working day is different for a lot of us. Whether it’s a long-distance commute, working from home, shift work or the classic 9-5, one thing remains constant - an engaged workforce outperforms a disengaged one.
But what makes an engaged workforce?
What Is Employee Engagement?
To understand how to improve employee engagement, we must first understand what it is.
There are many definitions of employee engagement, and they all boil down to this: how much do your employees care about their work and the company?
Employee engagement is not to be confused with job satisfaction. Someone can love their job without caring if the company does better or not. An engaged employee loves their job AND cares.
So the question to ask is this: would I trust this employee to do their best to affect change if I gave them a certain responsibility? If that answer is no, maybe they’re not so engaged (or maybe you have trust issues - we can’t help you with that one).
Why is Employee Engagement Important?
An engaged employee is motivated to do their job. The more motivated a workforce, the higher the rate of upskilling, the more likely they are to produce lasting results.
To ensure long-term success, employee engagement is essential to any organisation.
Given that it’s such an integral part of a growing business, there are so few leaders that practice this. Make sure you’re one of them by following these 4 principles.
4 Principles of Employee Engagement
It’s easy for employees to feel like a cog in the machine, especially in larger teams, so creating a sense of purpose in every team member is essential when working towards business goals.
Each business has an overarching purpose or mission, and it can be hard to relay that back to the team and have it resonate. So you have to create purpose in people’s roles and help them see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Reminding employees of the business’ goals, mission and values, and how each employee’s role contributes is an easy way to show the purpose of their role.
By knowing where they’re going and why, leaders can help employees understand their purpose and work towards the business goals.
Employees with purpose don’t seek individual recognition and will work unselfishly towards the goals of the team. This level of accountability is essential to every functioning team.
To take this even further, employees shouldn't just be told their purpose. They should be able to guide it.
By letting employees play the role that best suits their skill set and values, we position that person in the place that will best allow them to thrive.
The word growth gets thrown around a lot - especially in the start-up world. But we’re not talking about business growth here. We’re talking about personal and professional growth.
A famous Richard Branson quote goes: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.”
By upskilling your team, you allow them to grow alongside your organisation.
A motivated team breeds a culture of growth, and you’ll attract top talent who want to grow with you. Not only that, but you’ll see a huge uptick in employee retention, because who doesn’t want to work somewhere that challenges them to get better?
A common misconception amongst leaders is how much salary affects performance. In fact, it has little impact on employee engagement.
Instead, employers should focus on empowering team members through increased autonomy, flexibility and confidence-building.
Nobody likes someone looking over their shoulder. It may produce short-term, stress-inducing output, but it’s not good for long-term outcomes.
Giving employees the autonomy to make a role their own - and the flexibility to do it in their own time - empowers them and creates a culture of freedom and responsibility.
By helping employees to become intrinsically motivated, you reduce the temptation to micro-manage your team, which allows you to focus on leading them in the right direction.
Speaking of leadership…
Leadership is different to management. Where a manager is the type to look over someone’s shoulder and focus on their outputs, a leader focuses on outcomes and lets team members have the freedom to achieve them.
When empowering employees, proper leadership is what steers the team in the right direction.
Take the example of Netflix’s policy of unlimited vacation.
The purpose of this was to empower employees to schedule their work around their lives. When they first started doing this, some employees went too far and took vacation at the most inconvenient times. Others never took vacation in fear of looking lazy.
It took proper leadership to make people comfortable with taking vacation, starting with the CEO who takes 6 weeks per year. He followed that up by encouraging senior management to do the same.
If you want to create a culture to be proud of, it needs to start at the top, and work for those on the ground.
Sometimes you can have an amazing idea of what you want your company culture to look like, but if you’re managing a large team, or a remote workforce, it can be hard to convey your message.
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How to Improve Employee Engagement
31 DEC 2021