When we talk about employee engagement, we’re more often than not talking about employee morale. An ‘engaged’ employee is defined as happy, enthusiastic and eager about their job, so it makes sense that companies with high employee engagement tend to function better than companies without.
Being so important to businesses, it’s easy to see why it’s necessary to have effective strategies in place that can ensure high staff engagement. Josh Bersin, founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte, cites five essential elements for maintaining good employee engagement. Read on to find out what they are.
5 essential elements to improve employee engagement
- Make work meaningful
- Don’t be a boss. Be a leader
- Happy workplace, happy workers
- Democratic leadership
The first thing is ensuring that your employees know what they’re doing and why. While it’s important that tasks get done quickly and efficiently, it is just as important to ensure your employees understand the reasons why the task must be done. You can achieve this through several simple methods.
First, allow for employee autonomy. No one likes to be watched like a hawk, or have instructions continuously barked at them. Tell your employee what needs doing, and let them get on their way. Ensure they understand what you’ve asked, and then leave your employee to complete the task of their own volition. This will make them feel self-sufficient at work, as well as a valued and respected member of the team.
Next is to simply allocate work to the people whose skills complement the necessary task. This shows the employee that you’ve recognized their talents and are catering to them. It makes work meaningful and satisfying to your employee, increasing their engagement within their job.
Where teamwork is concerned, make sure you don’t over-allocate. Create small, effective teams of around 3-5 people (depending on the task) that are suited to the job. Too many personalities is bound to cause conflict based on intellectual and creative differences, so smaller teams work better. Groups can remain focused on completing a task quickly, efficiently and to the highest quality.
There is a huge difference between the connotations of the terms ‘boss’ and ‘leader’.
Despite having the same goals, a boss and a leader will go about them completely differently. Bosses are aggressive, uncaring, and take the rule of autonomy to the extreme, often expecting employees to know and understand a task that hasn’t been explained properly – then rebuking the employee when results are bad.
Leaders, however, work with their employees to achieve a good result. While bosses will watch from the sidelines as employees do all the work, leaders will stand at the front and delegate tasks fairly and considerately.
To be a leader isn’t difficult. Treat others how you’d want to be treated and you’ll have little to no problems. Next, be transparent and clear with what you need. Set out the goals in clear, concise terms that are easy to understand and guide your employees through the task as required.
Leading effectively can also come down to resource management. Ensuring your business has up-to-date methods and resources to complete the necessary tasks is essential. Such resources could include new computer systems, office equipment or software such as Ento.
Even if someone isn’t entirely happy in the job they have, their engagement in their job can be increased by ensuring that the work environment is a happy one.
To keep a workplace positive and vibrant, act respectfully and positively towards your workers. Allocate fair hours, roster as closely as you can according to employees needs, reward good work, recognise the efforts of your employees, and, as stated above, keep on top of your business resources.
Give your employees a voice. Listen to their ideas. Ensure them that, at the very least, you will consider its implementation, or explain fairly and considerately why the idea wouldn’t work, and suggest a revision.
From childhood, we are taught that if you do something good you are rewarded for it, and if you do something bad, you are disciplined. The same is true in the workplace. If an employee clearly stands out among the rest, it is only logical that their efforts be recognised and, when an opportunity presents itself, they are promoted to a higher position within the company. Such actions may prove a useful incentive for employees to engage more closely with their job.
As the leader of your team, you need to ensure you remain trustworthy. If employees feel they can trust their leader, they will be engaged all the more. Everyone wants to work well for an authority figure they trust, admire and look up to. Make yourself that person through treating employees fairly, equally and with respect and honesty.
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