Employee engagement is one of those phrases that’s thrown around a lot. Unfortunately, some businesses have lost focus on what it means and how to cultivate it in their workforce. They spend time and money conducting surveys, creating committees, holding meetings and even hiring consultants to try and engage their staff. But let’s be honest: How often do surveys or committees actually translate into greater employee engagement and satisfaction?
Luckily, the reality is that cultivating employee engagement is simpler and cheaper than you might think. Below are four tactics that you can use to create positive change and build a work environment where your employees will feel engaged and thrive.
- Start at the top
The adage lead by example is one of the oldest in the management playbook, but it’s also one of the most valuable. If you need a culture change, it has to start at the top. Your employees need to see the company’s leadership demonstrate the kinds of behaviors and values that they expect from everyone else.
Employees who trust their management are more invested in their company and are often more likely to go above and beyond in their role. Transparency, communication and respect go a long way toward building a work environment in which everyone feels responsible for the organization’s success and happily contributes to it. An “us versus them” feeling, by contrast, is one of the biggest employee engagement killers. So always make sure that your leaders are walking the walk and not just talking the talk.
- Make working an enjoyable experience
On average, we spend a third of our lives at work. Given that perspective, when you think about it, making your employees’ work day better makes a lot of sense. If you want your employees to care about their jobs, then you need to care about them. That means, for example, not only asking yourself if they have all the tools they need to do their job properly, but also if they have everything they need to make doing their job easier?
Here’s where communication is key. Listen to your staff and understand what their workday involves. Often, even small changes — like giving them access to an inexpensive tool or offering greater flexibility — can have a big impact. In fact, a bit of flexibility can be a godsend for your staff. Doing so has been proven to increase workforce productivity, happiness, and engagement, so if you can offer it, why wouldn’t you?
- Reward effort
Again, it sounds obvious, but saying thank you when a staff member has done a good job goes a long way toward creating a happy organization. Offering praise is one of the best ways to motivate staff and it’s also one of the cheapest and easiest.
Don’t assume that your employees know that you think they’ve done well. Being vocal with praise boosts an individual or team and lets others know what’s expected of them. You’re congratulating them, not only on a personal level, but also for their contribution to your company’s success. That can go a long way toward making them feel more invested in their job and their workplace. The bottom line is that building a culture where people are praised for their achievements is an easy way to cultivate a better, more motivated workforce.
- Invest in training
Your employees have dreams and aspirations and want to advance in their career too. By offering them additional training, you’re showing that you’re invested in them on a personal and a professional level. Not only will they feel valued, but they will also bring additional skills to your organization. Giving outstanding employees the chance, for example, to attend industry events or conferences, can give them an opportunity to develop personally, but also help ensure that they feel energized and are prepared to add even more value to your organization.
Simple changes can have a big impact
When it comes down to it, creating a positive and engaged workforce is really just treating your staff the way you’d like to be treated. Simple things can really make all the difference.
What measures have you taken to engage your workforce?