Employee engagement is a popular concept at the moment, but what on earth does it mean?
Well, once we’ve dealt with anything that’s making people feel demotivated in the workplace (see previous blog), it’s crucial to create an environment where people feel motivated and fulfilled – engaged with what they and the organisation are about.
The best motivators are to do with the work itself – those things that give us a ‘buzz’ when we do them – such as achieving something that seemed impossible, getting a big ‘thank you’ from grateful customers, having our efforts appreciated by management, solving a difficult problem or coming up with a new way of doing things that makes life easier for everyone.
Set people up for success – find ways of helping people to feel a sense of achievement in what they’re doing by making sure that you give them challenging, but interesting, tasks or projects and realistic targets to meet.
Show people they’re valued – this can be done in any way that’s appropriate in your culture. Some organisations have ’employee of the month’, or ask staff and customers to give positive feedback, or give staff rewards. Most of all, it’s simply noticing when someone is doing a good job and taking the time to say ‘thank you’.
Involve people in decision making – it makes so much sense to listen to the ideas of the people doing the front line work in the organisation. They are likely to see the pitfalls in a proposed change and will be much more willing to implement new things if they are involved in the planning.
Help people advance and develop – take an interest in the career ambitions of your staff. Not everyone will want to be a manager, but there might be other ways they would like to progress or things they’d like to learn.