In construction, the higher the building you want to, the stronger you make its foundation. The limit will be dictated according to its foundation. It can withstand earthquakes and storms. In your company, it is your employees that maketh the pillars. The stronger and loyal your employees are, the bigger the company can grow. In the business world, customers are treated as the King.
You have to abide by their needs and demands. When I say ‘you have to,’ it is your employees who actually carry out this no matter who the CEO is. It is your general employees who execute and gets all your strategies up and running. It doesn’t matter whether you had the most brilliant idea ever if your employees are poor executioners or merely disengaged, Well, then you don’t stand a chance.
Many are yet to acknowledge the significant role played by the employees in retaining their customers. Moreover, when an employee leaves you, it affects the company. You are losing all the training and money that you invested in that particular employee. Of course, it would be unrealistic to aim for zero employee churning. Some might leave because of certain inevitable reasons such as moving geographically to somewhere else. However, there are reasons that you could prevent from happening inside your organization. From drowsy workspace to micromanaging and office politics, the list goes on.
While only 13% of employees are engaged in their work, 51% of them are trying to leave their current jobs. This says volumes about the state of employees working mindlessly without any loyalty towards the company they are working for. Engaged employees can increase customer ratings by 10% and bring in 20% more sales. But how to engage employees? It doesn’t have a single definition. When an employee chooses to stay overnight to finish a project without his manager asking him to do, this is employee engagement. Job satisfaction should not be confused with employee engagement. Employees can be satisfied with their jobs and be disengaged. In other words, all happy employees need not be engaged employees, but all involved employees are always happy employees.
It would be an arduous task to find the best strategies to keep your employees engaged. Here, we will discuss the topmost ideas on how to engage employees the easy way.
7 easy ways to engage employees
1. Engaged employees as the company culture
Engaged employees should not be a strategy or seasonal event. It should be incorporated into the core of the company. From top to bottom it should be practiced all across the company religiously. Every employee would naturally want their company to succeed. It’s a matter of pride. Then what goes wrong in between that the employees become indifferent? A lack of healthy and positive company culture can be cited as one of the primary reasons behind disengaged employees. Churned employees have many such reasons to point their fingers at. The underlying issue is the disengaged employees. It is of utmost importance for you to identify any such behavior in your employees as early as possible. Here in this article, we shall discuss how to engage employees the easy way.
2. Trust in managers
“People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.”
Improving your management is one of the easiest ways to engage your employees. If your employees trust their managers, they are probably going to stay with you through thick and thin. It is quintessential for the employees to have a good rapport with their management. Only then they would be able to work out any issues that are destined to come across their paths. Managers are the direct link between the senior management and employees. There is no denying that the senior leaders do have an impact on the employees, but it is the missile management that gets to have a closer relationship. They get to maintain daily contact with the employees, and it is them that execute the strategies and policies put forward from the C-suite.
Almost 84% of your employees feeling towards the company can be explained as a reaction to their managers. The data from Gallup reinforces this by showing at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement is accounted to their managers.
The Finnish mobile game company Supercell is killing this strategy by giving the employees complete freedom on the projects they are working on. Supercell’s CEO Pannenen proudly admits he wants to be the least powerful CEO in the world. The final decision on the feasibility of a game is decided by the developers and not the management. Who said all corporate jobs equals slavery!
3. Personal growth
Talented employees are the most valuable commodity these days. And that is why opportunities for personal growth is considered as a fundamental concept in how to engage employees. It is essential for the employees to feel that the company they are working for is giving them space and facilities to better themselves rather using them merely as tools. A workspace that encourages personal growth is no longer a desire but a necessity.
Almost all the giants in the field have recognized this and encourage passion projects that enable the employees to pursue something that they really like. Google asks their employees to spend 20% of their time on such projects. They can be or cannot be related to the company. Google’s many popular projects such as Gmail and so on, interestingly were born from such passion projects.
4. Well defined job roles
If you want your employees to be engaged, then they need to know that their work is both valued and valuable. Many companies fail to define the specific role of an individual in a company. Defining job role is nothing but integrating an employees’ day-to-day activities with the mission of the organization.
It should have a clear framework for how the contributions of an employee compliment the mission. Without such a framework in place, employees might be in a state of confusion and disengagement. How to engage employees if they are not even sure what the mission of the company is. It is your responsibility to inform and educate your fellow employees of the mission and core values of the company. Let them know how each team and department goes hand in hand to support this mission.
The need for an unbroken chain from the individual to the company’s mission is inevitable. And they should be well-versed with how and where they fit in.
5. Regular feedback
Having a consistent feedback system established is the most fantastic way to identify any signs of disengagement. It is imperative in engaging the employees. It bridges all the communication gaps that arise between the managers and the employees. With proper and frequent feedback, managers get to understand where their subordinates stand with them. It lets them know whether the employees have understood the strategies or what is troubling them.
An ideal feedback should also have questions that touch upon the mental connections they have made with the company. The emotional component in any communication speaks to our basic need to feel valued. It also helps to establish trust amongst the executives and the employees.
Responding to the feedback given can increase engagement. Recognition for the work and effort given motivates the employee to present an even better version next time. An email from CEO to the entire company once in a month can make real and positive connections to the company.
So, here’s some serious advice. Do collect feedback from your employees and assess their engagement. The market offers tons of solutions like employee engagement software and performance management tools.
6 Health is wealth
To know that the company they are working for is concerned about their health can introduce a sense of loyalty and trust amongst the employees. This assures them that the company values them and is not treating them as tools. 54% of the disengaged employees believe that the work is having a negative impact on their health. Like giving opportunities for personal growth, health-care too has become a necessity rather than a nice gesture.
Organizations are actually saving money by investing in health and wellness in the long run. Absenteeism related to illness can be reduced. Healthy employees can work better, and productivity also increases. Companies invested in health and wellness initiatives saw 3 to 1 return in money saved, according to Harvard Business Review.
Health and wellness campaigns promote teamwork and bonding between the employees. Fostering a sense of community and friendship can be a strategic component of your company culture. Compartmentalizing the personal and professional lives may not be the best idea. The work-life integration rather than work-life balance, help the employees to settle down and be comfortable. This again aids in a positive engagement of employees.
At Docstoc, once a month they conduct a recreational group activity called “ Fun Friday.” Employees are taken out for bowling or a trip to the beach or even rock climbing.
7 .Keep it light!
After you have determined the mission of your company and your employees are onto the path of health and wellness, here comes the fun part. How to engage employees in reducing stress. Even if you have gone through all the other things but messed up this one point, Well, you are doomed!
The easiest way to reduce stress is to ensure a positive work environment for the employees. The workspace should necessarily reflect the mission and culture that the company holds. If yours is a ‘flat organization’ value, you might want to take down the walls, symbolizing ideas can come from anywhere, from CEO to mail assistant.
When Enplug, an LA-based digital display company leased their office, they decided to go for DIY furniture. The employees could build their own custom-designed furniture. Not only this saved a lot of money, but it became something they could do together. And finally, they had built their space according to their comfort.
The objective is to make the place they spend 84% of their life feel homey as possible. This reinforces the idea of not having separate lives but integrating your work with personal life. Yousician is a music startup company, and their office in Helsinki was undergoing renovation for one month. The company leaders had to handle their employees working for four weeks without a proper workspace. Offices in Finland are relatively expensive for just one-month lease. So they rented an entire villa in Greece and took their employees along with their families there. They lived and worked together for one month there. Yousician successfully turned an experience that could have gone wrong in so many ways into a pleasant experience.
Businesses and firms around the world have started paying the attention towards active employee engagement. To recognize that satisfied employees are not necessarily engaged employees is the hard part. To identify whether they are engaged or not is the tricky part. Before blaming your employees of whining too much or being less productive, review the opportunities and environment you have provided.
From ‘only four working days’ to ‘no managers’ and ‘man-made forest for workspace,’ companies are trying everything that they can. Knowing how to engage your employees is essential if it is growth and development that you have in mind for your company.
Customers can easily understand whether your employees are happy or not. They are not going to trust a company that their employees hate. Engaged employees are passionate and positive, and this is shown through everything they say and do.
When the former president John F Kennedy visited NASA in 1962, he saw a janitor and asked what he was doing. The janitor’s reply was “I’m helping to put a man in the moon.” This is employee engagement. No matter how small or large the role of an is in a company, the employee should have the proper understanding that he too is a part of it.
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