Employee engagement, simply put, happens when employees feel that they are indeed a part of the company (or a team), manifested by their enthusiasm in what they are doing and their sincere commitment to performing their respective roles. It’s more than just being responsible team members. It’s not just about reporting to work everyday and submitting deliverables on time.
Employee engagement is often associated or used interchangeably with the phrases “employee satisfaction” and “employee experience.” However, it has a deeper meaning business owners or managers should understand. It is an essential factor in cultivating a happy and productive work environment, even in the case of remote work setups.
So how do you boost employee engagement? Here are seven simple ways to do it.
An essential part of the effort to enhance employee engagement is the establishment of clear plans and courses of action. Everything a company or team needs to achieve should be unambiguously presented to employees. The vision and mission statements in company handbooks are not published there for nothing. The short-term and immediate goals should likewise be made clear to everyone in the company.
Clearly stating goals and objectives emphasizes the role everyone plays and highlights the importance of them fulfilling their respective obligations. Doing this somewhat sets an invisible “finish line,” which creates a sense of achievement every time an objective is cleared or whenever a task is completed. This sense of achievement has a motivating effect and stimulates better involvement in the affairs of a company.
Encouraging employees and managers to provide feedback is one of the most effective ways to promote engagement. Making it clear that everyone has the right to voice out their thoughts, especially when it comes to work-related matters, is an excellent morale-booster. It instills among employees the idea that the management respects their opinions and acknowledges how important they are to the company. It motivates everyone to work harder or at least make sure that they do what is expected of them.
Conversely, feedback from employees (to the management) are helpful in addressing problems and increasing efficiency in operations. Also, this helps prevent instances of anyone harboring ill will or discontent. If everyone is allowed, encouraged even, to freely express their concerns and reactions to decisions or proposed policies, disgruntlement is less likely to happen. Even better, everyone will be encouraged to work harder and cooperate with each other as they know their welfare and opinions are valued.
What better way to engage people than to bring them together for social gatherings? Even with the growing prevalence of non-personal communication, there’s still something magical about interacting with people in person. It creates connections that are arguably stronger than what video chats or online messaging establishes.
This also works for those who are in remote work arrangements. Even teleworkers can benefit from the occasional meet-ups with fellow employees and managers. Not every telecommuter may want to participate, but many will most likely appreciate the chance to personally mingle with their peers.
These social gatherings can serve as opportunities to get to know each other, make new friends, or engage in creative or leisurely activities with new people. They can also facilitate the confirmation or clarification of impressions that are mostly based on how someone acts online. Colleagues who are perceived as aloof online may actually be friendly and approachable in person. Regular social gatherings can help clear out issues and encourage cooperation.
What is collaboration in the workplace? It is essentially the completion of a task by more than one employee or group. There are projects that can be more efficiently undertaken when more heads and hands are involved. Conducting surveys or market studies, for example, are carried out faster and better by a team or the combined efforts of two or more groups from different departments.
Collaboration does not only make tasks easier and faster. They are also opportune instances for employees to bond and forge positive relationships. They encourage teamwork. What’s more, they can also be used as cost-cutting measures for certain projects. Some companies promote collaboration even for tasks that can be done by just a single person. The goal in such cases is to stimulate harmonious working relationships in the workplace help employees become friends with each other.
Imposing collaboration, however, should be carefully thought out and monitored. In some cases, it can worsen conflicts and result in additional costs or inefficiencies. Some employees work better alone, while there are those who are too abrasive that they can’t work with others. Still, it’s worth the while for any company to promote collaboration as the advantages generally outweigh the potential drawbacks. Uncooperative employees may just need to see the benefits of collaboration for them to change. A work environment that encourages teamwork is always more preferable.
Helping employees identify their weaknesses, work on their strengths, and boost their efficiency is a brilliant way to keep them engaged. Some managers tend to have the misconception that all they need to do to have a good team is to hire the best people and give them the standard orientation for their job. They then let them proceed with the job with minimal intervention. Worse, they only resort to admonishment and punishment to “correct” their employees mistakes or attempt to boost productivity.
Many managers fail to recognize the value of mentoring. Some may have close to valid reasons, as they may be overwhelmed by their own workload, but it’s important to exert utmost effort to become a mentor. Mentorship, by the way, does not necessarily mean babysitting your employees or spoon feeding everything they need to know to do a better job. It’s more on providing guidance to direct employees to the more effective methods of doing things.
Instead of castigating employees for struggling over a task or imposing penalties for errors, a mindset of mentoring entails that a manager helps employees address the problems that hinder them from working at their optimum capacity. Mentors can also reprimand their mentees, but they always try to rectify mistakes or missteps first before they rebuke or impose punishments. Their primary goal is to help improve the situation instead of finding faults and making employees suffer negative consequences.
Putting emphasis on the good treatment of every person is a boon to any workplace. It’s important not only to see the potentials of people, but also to recognize the limitations. Never think of workers as automatons or machines that only exist in the company to work, hence they should always work as expected.
Nobody can be a perfect employee who consistently meets expectations. It’s virtually impossible for anyone to be on time all of the time and never absent from work. Illnesses
and accidents are inevitable. People can suffer from occasional mood changes or emotional problems that can affect their work. Nobody is immune from personal problems and unexpected situations. It’s only logical to take all of these into account when dealing with employees.
Try to help employees achieve a better work-life balance. Some of them may no longer be productive because of circumstances that prevent them from delivering their optimum performance. It would be great if you can offer alternative work arrangements. Consider allowing employees to telecommute if they so prefer. The daily commute coupled with extreme cases of traffic congestion could be taking away a lot of their time and energy (having to wake up way earlier than normal to make up for the lost time on the road).
Moreover, don’t forget to show appreciation and gratitude. This applies to both the employees and management. If employees do well, take the time to acknowledge their accomplishments. If the management is actively doing measures to help employees work at their best, it’s only proper for the management to get credit for it.
This strategy does not always work, but when it does, it paves the way for a positively competitive work environment. Making employees or teams compete can motivate them to work harder. Be cautious in pitting people or teams with each other, though, as the competitive sense may go haywire and adversely impact relationships among employees. Intense competitions, especially when there are considerable prizes and penalties involved, may compel some to cheat or resort to deceitful and unfair tactics.
The key here is to come up with schemes that truly boost motivation instead of doing something like a carrot stick approach to solicit the preferred responses. Minimize the use of short-term rewards or punishments when trying to create a competitive workplace. Focus on making everyone appreciate the fulfillment of having done their best to advance the company’s success. More importantly, make sure a loss (in the competition) becomes a learning experience and emphasize that you believe a losing team or employee can do better next time and become the next winner.
Employee engagement is greatly beneficial in achieving greater productivity. It establishes a sense of belongingness, which motives everyone to give their best effort. It promotes teamwork and the mentality of working together for everyone’s benefit. It only
makes sense for companies to try the strategies discussed above to boost employee engagement.