How to Improve Employee Engagement to Drive Business Performance
Employee engagement is the cornerstone of every organization. It establishes a healthy relationship between the organization and the employees. An employee needs to be engaged in such a way that they are enthusiastic about their work and give their best every day. Employee engagement is not just meant to improve employee performance, but it is very much essential for business productivity as well.
Companies such as Google, American Express, Hyatt, John Lewis, Southwest Airlines and Virgin follows unique employee engagement practice for their business success. The world is demanding, and companies are confronted with new forms of struggles every day and they need to be quick to identify challenges and opportunities to evolve, sustain and succeed. One among them is keeping your employees engaged, stay motivated and inspire them to innovate every day.
It is great to see that many companies realize that employee engagement is not just pertinent to the employees, but it strategically drives business performance. These companies also realize that it is important to have transparency in communication, focus on values and behaviors and empower their employees simply by developing them and listening to them. They ensure that employees know their purpose in the organization. This is effective employee engagement.
In this article, we shall discuss some of the best strategies for employee engagement and how they can be used effectively to increase business performance:
Communicate your expectations
This is the first step towards employee engagement. As a manager, your job is to communicate your expectations effectively. Your employees deserve to know what is expected out them in order to carry out their jobs efficiently. It will become a lot easier for you to successfully lead your team. But then in order to do this, you need to clearly lay down what is it that you expect from them. You need to set their goals effectively and prioritize their goals.
For instance, if you are assigning a task to your employee, be clear on the business objectives of the task, the quality of what is expected out of them and within the given time frame. Eliminate any form of ambiguity and help your employees if they face any issue. At least your employees will feel accountable for their tasks and they will acknowledge you when they have questions. Your employees will then be able to deliver the results that you are expecting out of them.
Disseminate your core values
Core values rating is an important part of employee engagement and business success. Unless you communicate the values of the organization to your employees, there will be no business productivity. Your employees will be ambiguous about what values and behaviors are they supposed to adhere to. Employee engagement means eliminating that ambiguity. The values that you set are very much connected to your business success and reputation. Therefore, you need to take control of your values before you disseminate them to your employees.
Core values portray your business culture. Your core values distinguish you from other businesses. What is it that makes you different from your competitors? What makes your business stand out? Your core values guide your employees. Hence, when you deliberate upon your core values to your employees, make sure that you align them with their goals and your business objectives. As a result, it will increase business productivity.
Encourage real-time continuous feedback
Since the beginning, we have been elaborating upon the importance of communication for effective employee engagement. But what we do need to focus on is communication that is continuous and timely. Every organization must create a culture of a continuous feedback mechanism. There was a time when you would meet your employees once in a blue moon and talk about their performance and get it over with.
But we need to realize that the world is changing. Different people have different demands and we must adopt new practices to improve our business productivity and employee engagement. Have regular meetings and one-on-one discussions with your employees to talk about their progress and what they can do to improve to increase business performance. Talk to your employees and suggest to them developmental training programs improve their skillset.
Listen to your employees
As a manager, your job is not just limited to giving employees your feedback. Sometimes it is also about what they want and what they think. Therefore, in order to practice employee engagement efficiently, you need to solicit feedback from your employees. When you have a project related to group discussion, let your employees express their ideas. Your employees will then feel that they are being valued and involved in the decision-making process.
Ask them a lot of questions. Ask them how they are contributing to business success. Do they find meaning in their jobs? Is there anything you could do to improve yourself as a manager? Some employees are very reserved to talk about what they think. In such scenarios you can give employee engagement surveys and ask them to answer the questions anonymously, protecting their identities. This way your employees would feel valued and that they are contributing effectively towards the business.
Creativity and innovation must be fostered in every workplace. Stimulating creativity improves your employee’s self-confidence and unleashes a lot of business results. Sometimes, your employees need to get out of their comfort zone to practice that kind of effectiveness in employee engagement. You as a manager need to understand that you cannot keep going the same old-fashioned monotonous way of getting things accomplished. Sometimes, it is worthwhile taking risks and coming up with different strategies to execute the tasks.
Creativity is an important aspect of employee engagement because it encourages your employees to think out of the box. Your employees need to feel that their talent and skills are being used appropriately. Fostering creativity in the workplace will give your employees a sense of belonging to the organization. It will enhance their problem-solving abilities and give them some autonomy.
Ernest Hemingway had once said, “the best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them”. Trust your employees and they will invest their trust in you. Employee engagement happens only when there is trust.
Stimulate team building activities
All work and no play make employees dull boys. Therefore, organize non-work-related activities such as team sports, group luncheons and outings, community service and so on and so forth. Your employees need a break from their work and engage in some interesting activities. This will improve team collaboration and employees will understand each other very well. Apart from profits, you also ought to show them that you care about them.
Celebrate their existence
This is an interesting approach to employee engagement. Your employees need to feel valued and inclusive in the workplace. After all, they need to realize that their presence is making a difference to the organization. In such cases, you can do something as simple as celebrating their anniversaries and birthdays. You can all work together and make your employees feel good about themselves. They will be motivated to give their best to the organization.
Recognize and reward your employees
This is the most crucial aspect of employee engagement. Employee engagement is not just about understanding the relationship between the employees and the organization. It has more to offer than just business success. Employee engagement is also about acknowledging your employees and giving them an appreciation for their efforts. Rewards and recognition are the bedrock of employee engagement.
You need to realize that your employees are not machines. Their hard work needs to be appreciated and recognized. You can reward them by giving mementos or financial rewards in the form of incentives and bonuses. You can encourage high potential employees to become better business leaders. These future leaders will lead the other employees by example. Do you now see where your business is taking off? Therefore, keep them motivated and let them inspire others.
Employees prefer to work in an environment where their managers and leaders are invested in their careers. If you create the right conditions for your employees, inspire them and train them, they will give their best towards business’ success. They will be loyal to your company and work towards business growth. David Macleod has rightly defined employee engagement, “This is about how we create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential”.