How can leaders drive increased engagement in 2019?
Leaders, this one is for you. As you’re thinking of exciting opportunities the new year will bring, you’re probably anticipating new challenges as well. For many, at the forefront of these challenges will be employee engagement. This has been a major focus for a while, and in 2019, it’s here to stay. This might appear to be driven by the demands of Millennials for greater purpose and engagement with their employer but the reality is that all employees today are looking for a genuine attachment and genuine employee engagement has been proven to boost productivity, performance and retention of high performers.
So how can you boost employee engagement? We are more than happy to discuss how we can support your business specifically but for the time being, here are 3 key ways you can do this:
- Be sure to clearly define and articulate your company’s vision, mission & values and ensure your employees connect with these.
- Recognise your employees’ contributions and show gratitude.
- Ensure you have strong leaders who lead by example in embodying company values and driving positive cultural impacts from the top down.
Defining and articulating your company’s values and ensuring your employees connect with these:
This doesn’t mean “send around an email with your values for your employees to read and sign off on”, it actually means “sit down with your employees and clearly explain the values and vision so everyone is on the same page”. In fact, wherever possible engage your team in helping to define corporate values to ensure they are relatable. This is important because employees will want to feel like they’re contributing towards a meaningful and purposeful goal and that can be enough to motivate them through the difficult days.
Having everyone working towards the same vision embodying the same values also creates an environment of collaboration. Ever heard of the saying “two heads are better than one”? Imagine just what your team could achieve if all the clever heads came together to overcome obstacles and worked towards world domination! With a clear roadmap of what they are working towards and a strong sense of purpose around why they’re working towards it, your employees will feel engaged and motivated.
Recognising Employee Contributions:
We all want to be recognised for our dedication and commitment to doing our best work. No matter how engaged an employee may start out feeling, if their effort and progress goes unmentioned or unnoticed, they will struggle to stay motivated, and even in difficult economic times, rock star employees have options.
Recognising and rewarding doesn’t have to be lavish gifts or trips overseas all the time; on a daily basis, saying “good work” or “thank you for [something specific], it was helpful” should be the norm. But it is also important to understand how each employee likes to be recognised; e.g. some may thrive on being the centre of attention, others may prefer an email. Remember, everyone is different.
Also important here is that not only should managers / leaders recognise great results, they should praise exemplary work ethic, efforts and doing things the “right way” as well. Recognising and showing gratitude is an active exercise!
Demonstrate strong leadership:
To ensure your grand plans of getting employees aligned and acknowledging their great work are executed, you need great leaders / managers. They need to live and breathe your vision, your values and your work ethic and make a habit of proactively seeking and calling out great work. Without strong leaders setting an example of behaviour, work ethic and communication in a way that directly reflects the organisational values not only can you not expect other team members to display these values themselves but they can easily become disillusioned with a culture that appears to send a message of “do as I say, not as I do”.
Great leaders motivate, train and support their team members. They are driven by a purpose of developing their team and seeing others rise and flourish. They will fight for what is right and fight to provide what their people need to succeed. Some may have potential but may not quite be there yet. That’s where you, as their leader, step in to support them.
Employee engagement is a crucial piece of the success puzzle – easy to define but getting it right can be one of the greatest challenges we face. Start on the right foot by investing time and effort into having the vision and values discussion as early as the interview process, reward and recognise great work and have strong leaders with the right skills and attitudes to lead your teams to success.
We have worked with numerous organisations supporting them to develop their leaders and build cultures that result in strong engagement. Seeing the tangible results in increased productivity, retention and overall business performance is one of the most exciting aspects of our business as we continue to evolve. I welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how we can partner with your organisation to drive real and meaningful employee engagement.
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