(Did you see 4 Simple Ways to Engage Employees? This is part 2)
To recap why employee engagement is important:
- The most important (business) relationship a person can have is with their immediate superior.
- People managers who do not pay attention to some simple ways of interacting with their colleagues and team members risk losing vital talent, and costing their organisations thousands, in some cases tens of thousands, of pounds, dollars or euro.
- Growth – Encourage Progression
Ever had a job which felt like a dead-end, that there was no where to go from here? If so, then you will remember what that felt like, and in particular how motivated you were.
Engaging managers have regular conversations with their people about the future, about progressing within a role, taking on new challenges, and even moving on. Not in the sense of getting rid of someone, but in the sense of making them a more valuable participant in the success of your organisation.
Create opportunities for your people to tell you how they see the future, and what they are striving for. This is valuable information about what motivates them. It also shows that you understand that they are an individual, with their own lives to live, not just a corporate asset.
- Growth – Offer Learning Opportunities
We cannot not learn. It’s in our DNA, part of who we are, whether it is learning from experience (can be painful), or learning consciously through focused study and application.
Your role as manager is to ensure your team members becomes more valuable to the organisation’s mission, which can mean mean knowledgeable and more skillful.
Offering learning opportunities is an ideal way to show your team members that they are valued.
- Trust – Keep your promises
What do we generally believe: what someone says, or what someone does? When there is a disparity, a difference, we tend to start doubting what someone says.
So, a key way to build trust is to keep your word, and a very effective way to destroy trust is to go back on promises.
This means that you should never promise something that you don’t think you can deliver, even though it may get you out of a difficult conversation, or make you temporarily popular.
Remember to document what has been agreed between you and your team, to ensure you follow up effectively. And if you find, for whatever reason that you cannot keep your promises, explain to those affected why you cannot.
- Trust – Interest in people, as people
It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of business, and just think of the people you work with in terms of doers of tasks, workers on projects, and senders of emails.
However, they, like you, have lives outside of work, have families, have friends, dreams, fears, hobbies, challenges and memories of which you know nothing. However, if you take a little time to get to know your team members, over a coffee, or a drink at the pub, then that can pay dividends in terms of building trust, and really understanding what is important to them.
You don’t have to ask in-depth questions, or dig down into their personal lives – most people don’t welcome that. But a sincere enquiry about “How did your weekend go?” or, if you know they have children and/or pets, to ask how they are, creates the impression that you care about something other than goals, targets and metrics.
To summarise all 8 ways to build employee engagement:
- Communication – give clear direction, and be responsive.
- Recognition – appreciate a job well done, and remind them that this is important work.
- Growth – advocate progession, and offer learning opportunities.
Trust – Keep your promises, and show a sincere interest in people.