How to excel at employee engagement

Employee engagement is about creating opportunities for employees to relate to their colleagues, managers and the wider organisation. It is also about creating an environment where employees are motivated to connect with their work and really care about doing a good job. Committed employees are much more productive than uncommitted employees and act as great ambassadors for the brand.

Effective leadership

Effective leadership is critical if you want to maintain a high level of employee engagement. Leaders should:

  • Value employees. Employee engagement is a major reflection of how employees feel about their boss.
  • Offer opportunities. Employees are more likely to be engaged when they see a range of opportunities open to them.
  • Reward and acknowledge success. Showing employees how they contribute to an organisation is paramount.
  • Build teams. Working in teams is productive and creates an environment of trust and collaboration.
  • Show confidence. Clear decision making and ethical standards are necessary to uphold your company’s reputation.

Show that you have a plan

In good times and bad, it is essential that employees understand your business strategy. Employees won’t feel engaged if they don’t understand the direction that the company is moving in.

So, be transparent about your plans. Not only will you ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal, you willalso demonstrate confidence in the future. The result will be a committed and confident workforce that sees itself as an integral part of your long-term plan and vision.

Instil values and a culture

Values define how your business behaves and explain what it stands for. By fostering an environment where your values can be lived, breathed and demonstrated, you are more likely to motivate your people to connect with their work.

Create a sense of purpose

Employees want a reason to come to work. A job is about more than just the money. Employees will feel committed to the company’s objectives when they understand and believe in what the company stands for, appreciate the value in the goods and services it sells, and see these delivered ethically and to a high standard. Not only will they contribute and make a difference, their motivation and productivity will rise.

Focus on performance management

Your employees want to know where they stand and how they are doing. Therefore, regular feedback on both a formal and informal basis is essential.

Good performance management should be supportive and bring out the best in people. Sometimes, however, it is seen as remedial action and, too often, a tool to weed out poorer performers. Unfortunately, using performance management to manage out under-performers is likely to scare off your best performers too. In an ideal world your performance management should go beyond the set-piece appraisals. Cultivate a culture that values open and actionable conversations.

Know what success looks like

Clearly communicate your vision and explain how every member of staff plays a part it achieving it. Painting a picture of what success looks like – at an individual, team, divisional and corporate level – will keep your vision alive and achievable. Create milestones and showcase successes along the way – this will help to boost employees’ positivity, pride and a sense of achievement.

Recognise successes

A recognition programme can be instrumental to creating an appreciated and motivated workforce. It doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it’s often the personal touch that makes all the difference. Encourage employees at all levels to recognise success – don’t simply rely on management to do it. Research suggests that there is a direct link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, and between customer satisfaction and financial performance.

Empower your people

People will flourish in an environment that builds independence, self-belief and personal achievement. Giving employees the leeway – and encouragement – to succeed is an essential building block of engagement. Focus on results, rather than detailing exactly how the work should be done. Strike a balance between giving people enough space to use their abilities to best effect while monitoring and supporting them enough to get the job done correctly and effectively.

Communicate well and often

Keep your employees informed of any important developments and don’t try to cover up bad news with a positive spin. Most people will be able to see through it. Make your employees aware of the issue, the benefits of your chosen course of action, and what you expect of them. Communicate as much as possible and don’t worry about repetition. Constant reinforcement of key messages improves memory and understanding.

Face-to-face communication is always best, particularly in challenging times. When you are communicating, make good use of line managers since employees are more likely to believe their immediate boss who can listen, debate and connect with their teams. In addition, make full use of all available media such as blogs, company intranets, newsletters, social networks and team briefings.