How engaged do you think your employees are?
This might not seem like the most pressing concern when running a small business. You may think you have too much to focus on to worry about whether your people enjoy their work or not.
However, employee engagement can have a substantial impact on their entire experience in your company. Research shows that 79 percent of workers who quit a job do so because they feel unappreciated. Meanwhile, 58 percent of people claim to trust strangers more than their employer.
Effective management is the key to boosting engagement in the workplace. But as a leader, how can you do this?
Recognize Your Employees’ Achievements
Completing tasks, especially big ones, takes hard work and effort. If an employee goes above and beyond the call of duty, such as putting in a little overtime, how motivated do you think they’ll feel to do so again if it goes unrecognized by the people at the top?
Congratulate employees when they do something good for the company and demonstrate your appreciation face to face. Do the same for the entire team from time to time, too. It only takes a few minutes out of your day but a simple “excellent work, well done” can inspire an employee to keep working at their best.
Reward systems are becoming more commonplace, offering tangible rewards (such as gift cards) to high achievers. Consider introducing this to your business.
Be Honest About Your Own Goals
You have your own goals, just like the rest of your workforce. Perhaps you want your business to win an award within the next year. Maybe you’d like to have an article published in an industry magazine. It could be anything.
You can improve employee engagement by being honest and open about your own aims for the future. Host a discussion with your team in a company meeting about what you hope to achieve, and invite others to share their own personal development targets. Don’t force them to, of course, but just let them know you’re willing to take their aims onboard and even help achieve them if possible.
This will show your human side and bring down the barrier between boss and worker, even just a little. By being honest, you’re also showing your employees that it’s okay for them to do the same and that you recognize they’re individuals with unique goals.
Encourage Collaboration and Group Work
Promote collaboration and teamwork within your business: make sure your employees know they should be working with each other rather than against each other.
While a little competitive spirit might push some workers to do their best, it can lead to bitter rivalries and make people forget that you’re all working towards a common goal: to make the company a success.
Everyone has their part to play in this, and you should give your employees everything they need to work together, whether this means editing documents together, brainstorming ideas or helping each other overcome daunting challenges. Collaborating can create a tighter bond between your employees and make them feel more engaged with the business as a whole.
When they start to feel closer to each other, they may even start to look forward to coming in each day.
Listen to Your Employees’ Feedback
A good leader listens to what their employees think and feel about the business.
Invite yours to provide anonymous feedback on their workplace experiences, and to share ideas to improve it. There are numerous methods for gathering feedback without names attached, and remaining anonymous can give employees the confidence they need to get creative.
It’s vital that you engage with your workers’ suggestions, critiques, and ideas. Demonstrate that you’ve read them, and ask how said concepts could be integrated into everyday processes. Let them know you’re listening and you value their feedback. Don’t just invite opinions as a token gesture of leadership and leave them unread.
Of course, ideas and suggestions don’t have to be anonymous, so make sure your door’s always open. Try to inspire employees to share their ideas without fear of mockery or going ignored.
They should feel free to offer input into management practices, product development, HR processes and anything else that concerns them.
Take an Active Role in Improving Employees’ Experience
As a good leader, you should get to know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses over time.
Why? Because you’ll have valuable opportunities to make changes that benefit both the individual and the business. For example, if you can see that someone in your workforce is struggling to accomplish certain goals in their current role but have clear potential in a different one, consider offering them the chance to switch.
They might prefer to stay in their current role instead, but this gives you a chance to offer training to boost their performance. As they grow, they will work better and develop their own skills for the future. If they get to know their job better and can do it with more confidence, they will feel more engaged.
Creating a culture of honesty and open feedback minimizes the risk of people making mistakes, as they will feel more comfortable admitting they need help in the first place.
Good leaders focus on building a workforce that’s passionate, loyal and satisfied in their roles. Follow the five steps above to improve engagement in your business, and you could pave the way for some dramatic changes.
Thanks to our friends at fitsmallbusiness.com for writing!