Studies have shown that engaged employees work harder, are more productive and are less inclined to be looking out for another job. Music to the ears of an employer or small business owner like you. But what exactly is employee engagement? And how do you keep your employees engaged? Employee engagement is defined as the emotional connection that the employee feels towards his or her employment organisation.
But how does one create the conditions that make an employee connect emotionally with your company? The first aspect is to look beyond pay and compensation. While most managers and employers believe that better pay is the biggest reason that employees leave an organisation, studies have shown that disengagement with a company or the employee’s manager/superior is a more powerful motivator.
It starts with the culture. The first area where an employee needs to feel engaged is with the culture of the company itself. It starts with the hiring process. Make ‘fit’ with your company culture a mandatory requirement on your checklist when hiring. Look beyond the potential employee’s qualifications. While you encourage diversity in backgrounds and talent, ensure that they share the same core values as your company does.
Leadership matters. People quit their bosses, not their companies, goes a common adage. It works both ways. People stay for their bosses too. Employees want to know that they have a role to play in the overall goals and vision of an organisation.
An employee who has bought into the goals of the larger organisation will ensure that he or she contributes his or her effort to making it a reality, no matter what level he or she is at. An inspiring leader or manager is able to set the goals as well as communicate them clearly to the employees to keep them motivated and engaged.
Communicate clearly, and often. As the owner or senior management, you may have clearly defined goals for the company. However, as stated earlier, they have to be clearly communicated to the employees, along with how their contribution will help the company succeed. This communication is a continuous process. Intranet, blogs, newsletters, meetings – use various communication channels to reinforce the goals as well as to keep the employees up to date with ‘progress reports’.
Empower your employees.
Do not encourage micromanagement in your organisation. Personal achievement and self-belief are vital for an employee to flourish in an organisation. Support and encouragement, along with the freedom to complete tasks without constant interference give employees a sense of ownership and motivates them to push themselves to perform better. Encourage them to try new things and incentivize extra effort or better results, and you have a team of outstanding performers on hand.
Go beyond the office. With a purpose.
Sometimes, the way to engage employees may be to take them out of the work scenario altogether. But this does not mean just a junket or a one-off team-building workshop. Getting your employees involved in do-good activities could give them a sense of purpose and feel that there is more to the company than just work.
Getting all your employees involved in such projects also helps break down barriers between departments or hierarchical structures and creates a common sense of purpose across the organisation.
A culture of engagement. Keeping your employees engaged is a continuous process; one that a good HR person or manager will see as a fun activity, rather than a chore. Employment engagement cannot work in fits and starts, but must become ingrained in the company’s culture for it to be truly effective.