Every day, your employees make decisions that affect your workplace. And depending on their level of engagement, those decisions can either help or hurt your company.
According to Gallup, engaged employees produce better outcomes than other employees. These are the employees going the extra mile and recommending your products or services to other people. They’re actively contributing and trying to make the workplace a better place.
Just 36 percent of employees in the U.S. are genuinely engaged in their jobs, while 15 percent of employees are actively disengaged at work. And it isn’t too hard to spot actively disengaged employees.
Disengaged employees don’t see the vision and purpose behind the organization they work for. These individuals don’t put in any extra effort to help the company be successful and probably don’t enjoy being at work. In fact, they may be looking for another job while they’re at work!
Take Responsibility for Employee Engagement
If you want your company to succeed, you have to take responsibility for employee engagement. Here are five ways to do it:
1. Help your employees succeed. Do your employees have the tools they need to succeed at work? Do they know what’s expected of them and understand the implied tasks that come with their job? Do they have the tangible and intangible resources they need to succeed?
Don’t just assume your employees have what they need to be successful at work—if they don’t, they’re probably not going to approach you about it. Effective leaders anticipate the needs of the people they’re managing and advocate on their behalf.
2. Train your managers on best practices. According to Gallup, one of the biggest problems with employee engagement is that many people think it’s a problem for HR to solve. The truth is, if your employees are actively unengaged, it means they’re probably not being managed very well.
According to The Predictive Index People Management Study, 94 percent of employees with great managers reported feeling passion and energy for their jobs. In comparison, 59 percent of employees with bad managers felt passion and energy at work.
Effective managers clearly communicate with employees and give them feedback on their job performance. If your managers aren’t doing this, they may need more resources and development on how to work with employees.
3. Make employees feel valued. It’s hard to create employee engagement if your employees don’t feel valued at work. People who are appreciated at work are more productive and perform their tasks better.
The problem is that too many leaders assume their employees know how they feel about them. This often is referred to as the illusion of transparency—people overestimate the degree to which others can interpret their feelings.
Here are a few tips for helping your employees feel valued at work:
- Make it a habit: Make it a habit to schedule times to check in with employees. This may feel excessive at times, but these interactions are an essential tool to help your employees feel seen and heard.
- Ask for their opinion: Ask your employees for their opinion during team meetings, and act on the feedback you receive. Employees want to feel like their thoughts and ideas count.
- Recognize employee contributions: Take time to acknowledge employee contributions regularly. Try to make this a part of your weekly routine—for instance, you could start each meeting by recognizing one team member’s accomplishments for that week.
4. Be flexible. Flexible work schedules are one of the best ways to increase employee engagement. And that doesn’t mean you have to let your employees work remotely full-time—it just means you’re willing to help them balance their work/life responsibilities.
For instance, some of your employees may be working parents who have to pick their kids up at a specific time each week. Be willing to let that employee adjust their work hours—this kind of consideration will go a long way toward building your relationship with your employees.
5. Focus on ongoing development. According to Indeed, many employees quit their jobs because they’re looking for career advancement opportunities. Employees want to succeed beyond their current roles, which is why ongoing development is so important.
There is almost nothing worse than feeling bored and uninspired at work—your employees want to be challenged. Make sure you’re always looking for opportunities to help your employees grow and learn new skills.
The Bottom Line
Employee engagement may sound like an overused corporate buzzword, but it’s a key aspect of maintaining a healthy workplace. And if your employees aren’t as engaged as you would like, there are steps you can begin taking today to improve things.
However, this isn’t a one-time project—you need to have an ongoing commitment to keeping your employees engaged. By focusing on employee engagement, you’ll reap the benefits in your workplace for years to come.