There’s no doubt that engaged, enthusiastic and motivated employees are good for your business financially. They also help you as a leader to keep your own spirits up in tougher times and help to foster a positive reputation around your brand in the public eye. But how do you turn workers who are only showing up because they need the paycheck into engaged employees who truly care about your business? Let’s take a look!
Sit down and talk about their goals and aspirations
One of the best ways to engage an individual employee is to demonstrate an interest in their personal goals. You may well discover that you have interests that are compatible – such as an employee who would like to go into marketing, and could be trained up to take over your internal content creation, social media or paid advertising campaigns. You could then arrange to give them a few hours during the week that they could devote to an online digital marketing course, for example.
If you hadn’t had this conversation, you may well have ended up hiring someone else to do your marketing, potentially creating resentment in the employee because they feel overlooked. Even if your goals are not compatible, just showing interest and getting to know the individuals on your team helps them feel valued and appreciated.
You care about your business, and as a result, it can be difficult to let go of control at times – but making your employees feel you believe they need a babysitter at all times is not conducive to engagement. It also limits the scope for those new ideas and outside the box thinking that your employees could be bringing to the table. Let your employees know you’re there to offer advice and support if they need it, but the ball is in their court once a task or project has been assigned. Allow them to take ownership, and you’re also allowing them a chance to shine!
Welcome suggestions on software, suppliers, services or training that could make your team more effective
You can’t stay abreast of everything going on in the world – but your employees can become your eyes and ears on the ground. Encourage, and ideally incentivize, suggestions which could improve efficiency, cut costs, or further your business goals. It might be a seminar, expo or training course your staff would like to attend, the possibility of partnering with an IT services company to implement a great new cloud computing solution, new equipment which could save your employees time or cut costs, or even ideas for a fun teambuilding event. The more involved and ‘heard’ your staff feels the better for morale and engagement.
Implement a wellness initiative
Many studies have shown that a worksite health and wellness intervention results in: “significant improvements in body fat content, blood pressure, plasma lipid levels, depression, anxiety, hostility, somatization, quality of life, and total health scores.” Healthy employees are good for business – they take fewer sick days, have better energy levels, are able to focus and concentrate better, and are better able to cope with stress and anxiety. It also shows your employees that you care about their health and welfare, boosting engagement. If you’re a small organization, simply putting together a committee of interested individuals who can lead your wellness initiative is a great start.
Embrace more flexible working hours and telecommuting
There are many ways in which greater workplace flexibility improves employee engagement, performance and productivity – yet this still feels a little counterintuitive for many business owners. In a way, this is an extension of the urge to micromanage – wanting to have your employees in your sights at all times, so to speak. If you set clear, solid guidelines and stipulations and make use of the many technologies at our disposal, however, you can take advantage of all the benefits of allowing remote work without feeling out of the loop.
Praise employees who are making a real effort – not just your top performers
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a manager is watching an employee discover a talent or strength they didn’t know they possessed and becoming a top performer in the workplace. And while it’s natural to praise these individuals, it’s just as important – or perhaps even more so – to praise those individuals who are working hard to overcome their own weaknesses and challenges. Always be sure to make time and offer a kind word to those who are doing the best they can. They’re sure to pay you back with loyalty and dedication.