Four Employee Engagement Essentials
Building an engaged workforce takes time and consistent effort. There is no magic bullet, but there is a general recipe for success, and it starts with the actions below.
Translate corporate goals to individual goals.
Top management may have the company’s mission, vision, and key performance indicators all figured out, and they may have even communicated specific marching orders to their top managers. But these goals need to trickle down to line managers and supervisors so they know what their departments need to contribute in order to achieve the larger goals. Great managers translate these high level goals to their employees, resulting in higher employee engagement.
Train your line managers to be goal-oriented with their direct reports.
Now the marching orders for the managers above need to become concrete action items for front-line employees. If they remain as lofty directives, such as “provide excellent customer service,” or “improve quality,” the average employee will have little idea of how to improve, or even how his or her performance stacks up. Feeling like you don’t make an impact (or you’re not sure if you do) is a sure path to disengagement.
Invest time in development.
It’s often hard to take a step back and find opportunities for employee training when you are concentrating on pleasing your customers right now, but it will help your organization immensely in the long run. High-potential employees that are kept doing the same jobs for an extended amount of time will eventually get bored, become disengaged, and look for more challenging opportunities at a company that appreciates and utilizes their talents. Create a high-potential employee program for those who show promise to identify those who have the ability to learn, grow, and become future leaders so they don’t get lost in the shuffle. Offer education reimbursement or in-house training for all employees so they can expand their skill sets and become even bigger assets to your organization.
Build recognition into your company culture.
Many employees leave jobs because they feel their efforts are not appreciated. Unfortunately when managers get busy it can be easy to fall into the bad habit of only pointing out the negative and taking the positive for granted. Building a culture of recognition is all about habits–if you communicate it constantly and incorporate it into other processes (such as putting a link to your recognition program on your intranet), it will become second nature to recognize colleagues and subordinates for their great work. If that recognition is done in a social environment where others can like and comment on it, the positive effect on engagement multiplies that much more.
It’s all well and good to buy your employees lunch, play games, and have a relaxed dress code. These things can contribute to a great company culture, but they will not mean anything if you do not have the basics above in place first.