One of the most important resources for a business is its people. However, just having people cannot solely drive your business to success. There are businesses who hire skilled individuals that eventually didn’t reap success. If you engage your employees however, you can make that BIG difference.
But what exactly is an engaged employee?
It is someone who is able to provide ideas and unwavering dedication to his work. Someone who knows his importance to the business and consistently strives to give the best he can for the business. An engaged employee treats the business like his own. Is there a way we can get such kinds of employees in our company? There are several things we can foster into our company culture to help achieve a happier and more engaged workforce.
Motivation. When employees are excited to go to work, they do their best. Supervision is minimal, and it saves the time of the managers. Managers are able to focus on the other important aspects of the business. Employees who are motivated are happy to serve customers and deliver great performance. One of the simple ways we can improve employee motivation is by consistently providing them feedback. Everyone likes to know how well they are doing at work. When employees see their strengths, they become excited. Most also would like to learn and improve what they do. Feedback sessions allow them to know both. Coaching employees consistently is a good key to success.
Aside from coaching, it is also important that we know what keeps people at work. What role does their job play in their personal life? A manager who knows what pushes their employees to do what they do will be able to influence them well. It is important to build good relationships with employees. Talking to them about non-business matters related to their personal lives may be important. This doesn’t mean that managers need to pry into the privacy of their employees. It only means that a leader needs to build a positive relationship with employees in order to get them to open up. Showing employees that you genuinely care will also make them happy to come to work every day.
Creativity. Productivity is something that is seen by companies as a good measure of success. In the pursuit of it, they overlook that employees are not machines whose productivity may be computed by the number of hours they are doing actual work. Employees also need time to look back at the things they do daily so that they can reinvent their tasks. Employees need to find a way to come up with better means of doing their job. They need to innovate. Managers need to provide an avenue for creative thinking so that people will not become stale. Allowing room for creativity also provides employees a consistent feeling of accomplishment especially when their ideas positively impact the business. The company for example who first produced what we now know “post it” allowed their employees creativity and consistently encourages them to come up with new products. Initially, employees laughed at the idea of these sheets of paper with weak adhesive but when the company launched the product and encouraged the idea, it put them in the map and became a top brand worldwide. Encouraging creativity is definitely something that companies should start looking into.
Positive, Supportive Environment. While employees toil in the office everyday, it is easy to overlook the overall environment they are in. A positive environment doesn’t only mean good office equipment, lighting, and new paint. Environment includes people and how they respond to each other. While it is true that managers can never control people’s action, they are the one who can set the intensity that people will follow. Whether they choose to positively interact with employees or not will determine employees will also treat each other. Needless to say, if he shows that he is not a boss but someone who is there to provide people support, then employees would follow and also show respect, support, and positiveness toward each other. A positive and supportive environment encourages work-life balance among employees which is a great source of consistent motivation and creativity. Happy employees produce positive thoughts and give positive care to their customers.
Trust. Managers are there to check on employees, right? Wrong. They are there to empower employees and make employees see how they can make a difference for the business. While some people may argue that there are dishonest and disloyal employees who do not care about the company, a big percentage of these are only because of self-fulfilling prophecies. Self-fulfilling prophecies happen when you have certain expectations of someone and, unknowingly, you take notice of his actions that fulfill those expectations more often than things that are otherwise. This makes you biased and only see the employee based on your expectations. I came across a concept in Psychology called the Pygmallion effect. This states that when you have a certain expectation of someone, you move around the person with that expectation and it reflects subtly in your actions whenever you are around him. In turn, this affects the psyche of the person making him respond based on your expectations. Imagine if you move around your employees with the expectations that you can trust them? Of course this doesn’t mean that there are no risks. We still have to manage risks, definitely. But we create documented processes to manage these. Focus on empowering people. Verbalize and let them know that you trust them genuinely. Remember that boss who always made you feel that he trusts in your ability? Doesn’t he make you deliver your best always?
Training. In Stephen Covey’s book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,“ he talks about sharpening the saw. Engaged employees are effective employees. Therefore, providing our employees with growth and development increases their engagement in our business. When people learn, they become excited about what they do. Providing an avenue for employees to learn will definitely boost their morale and desire to deliver more for your company. Get a motivational training or a training that will enhance their skill in their job. You can also create a training path to get them ready to take on bigger roles in the business. Make these training sessions something your employees can easily relate to. Training can be a class room training, a one-on-one session with their manager, or even a class with a seasoned resource speaker invited. The possibilities are limitless.
There are still many other ways to engage our employees. Companies spend lots in order to come up with many programs for employee engagement, but these simple steps can bring you a long way when you need to deliver consistently good performance for your company.
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