Employee engagement is the new key to getting more from your people. It is also an untapped resource for most businesses, and one that brings rapid results for relatively little outlay.
Within a matter of weeks, organisations that improve their employee engagement can reap benefits such as increased productivity, reduced staff turnover and boosted profits.
If employee engagement sounds like another fancy term for a costly business system, think again. It is better communication that lies at the heart of engaging people, and talk doesn’t need to cost anything.
Employee engagement isn’t about fancy strategies and expensive brochures. It’s about effective communication between managers and staff, and the good news is that this will be low-cost and time-efficient.
Tips for improved employee engagement
1. Schedule regular (at least monthly) one-to-one meetings with each team member. This should not simply be an update on progress with tasks; it’s also a time when staff can discuss the things that matter to them.
2. Aim for face-to-face meetings. Remember that technology, such as Skype, facilitates face-to-face meetings with staff even if they are located remotely.
3. Have open and honest conversations. Oblique messages – or downright dishonesty – create barriers between staff and managers.
4. Be pro-active. Regularly check-in with employees to find out how things are going with them rather than contacting team members only when you need something.
5. Focus on employee engagement for your own team. If each manager gets to know their own people this strengthens employee engagement and reinforces team spirit across the business as a whole.
6. Consider using new communications technologies. Internal and external online communities, online project and collaboration tools and internal ‘instant chat’ systems help employees to feel they have more input and that their knowledge is valued. This breaks down team-based silos and encourages sharing of knowledge and contacts.
Employee engagement pitfalls to avoid
There are several factors that particularly jeopardise results:
- Inconsistency – cancelling one-to-one appointments at the last minute
- Managers talking too much and not listening to staff
- Leaders focusing only on task outcomes rather than also on what the individual is contributing to, and learning about, as a result of working on the task
- Woolly “how are you” conversations with no particular focus, which can be condescending and uncomfortable for all involved
- Starting from a very low base of trust between managers and staff.
Employee engagement generates rapid results
Time and again we have witnessed the success of employee engagement with a wide range of businesses. Results occur surprisingly quickly and typically businesses will see measurable improvement in results in six to 12 weeks.
In an increasingly pressured business world, employee engagement is the key low-cost resource that is guaranteed to bring a boost to business.
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