3 simple steps to employ this behavior
Engaging employees in your company is a goal most organizations strive for. But with the vast personalities and even more varying talents, finding a proper fit isn’t so easy.
According to Gallup in their 2017 State of the American Workplace report, 70 percent of employees in the U.S. are not engaged at work.
In an earlier post, I brought out how challenging employees is difficult when you have ones who don’t care to move further than their comfort zone. Which means that while a large percentage of employees admit they are not engaged at work, it doesn’t clarify how many of these employees really want to be.
Employee surveys to ascertain what employees want or don’t want can be revealing. However, they don’t necessarily speak for everyone in your organization. While it might seem the majority of your employees favor competitive compensation and fewer are concerned about health care, it might be that your high performers are the ones who care about health care.
Another factor that contributes to low engagement and disappointing retention includes burnout. And burnout involves a variety of issues including unfair compensation, unreasonable workload, too much overtime and working after hours.
There are many people who seek greater fulfillment in their work life. They want to contribute to something better. Engagement helps them in this endeavor to know they are valued in the organization.
So how can you help your employees be more engaged and build upon their loyalty?
1. Talk to them
As I mentioned, surveys have their purpose, but they don’t necessarily speak for the majority or are an exact science. Sometimes people write what they think you want to hear.
The more effective method to find out what employees want is to talk to them. However, if you’re managing a few hundred employees, that could be a challenge. That’s why you need to enlist the help of other departments to meet with employees in group settings. For example, I’ve sat on boards where members, acting as “spokesperson,” represented specific groups.
A group conversation is interesting because when someone throws out an idea, others will follow. Whether negative or positive, the responses and reactions are helpful to you. Before you gather people together, consider who should be involved, such as human resources, marketing, internal communications leaders and so forth. And think of specific questions to ask. Keep in mind that people tend to “feed” off one another. Someone may not have thought they felt a certain way until someone else told them they should.
Which means, you also need to speak to individuals, in both scheduled and casual conversations. Get to know your employees. Learn what they are thinking and what’s important to them.
Ask them what their goals are in the company. What do they like to do and what would they do if given the opportunity?
2. Observe them
Pay attention to your employees. Do they have skills you’ve noticed that they haven’t been using? Do you see potential in their abilities? What do they do well that could be used further?
Some employees have incredible people skills, but instead of being at the forefront of the office, they are stationed in the basement. Others have incredible creative skills, but they were hired for their accounting skills. Change things around and see what happens.
You might have employees who struggle with interpersonal relationships and need a bit of coaching in that regard.
Whatever your employees are doing in your company or under your leadership, seek our their potential attributes and use them.
3. Mentor them
Mentoring employees is time consuming. And no one is asking you to mentor 100 employees. Discern which high-achieving employees could benefit from your experience and leadership and take them under your wing. Use them as often as possible.
Could they go with you when you meet with a client? Or as you interview a potential candidate for the company?
In whatever capacity you use them, seek their suggestions. Ask them what their thoughts are and where they would take their decision. Make sure you teach more by your example instead of telling them what you would do or what they should do. This is a time for learning and training.
If they make a mistake and/or you need to correct them, be sure they understand what they did. Ask them how they would do things different in the future. Share your past experiences of how you handled your own mistakes.
Employees are more engaged when they feel valued. Personal interest from a supervisor, encouragement to offer ideas, being used in various capacities, all contribute to boosting the morale of your workforce.
Your goal is to grow your business. But the way to get there is through a happy, engaged workforce. Building on that foundation now will produce a better future for your organization.
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