Employee engagement is currently a hot topic discussed among business owners and management teams alike. Everyone is looking for the secret to create more focused, productive, high-performing employees — especially when it comes to motivating millennials. While there is not a "one-size-fits-all" strategy that will inspire and encourage your employees to become more engaged and invested in the work they do, there are many small techniques that can appeal to your employees differently.
Keeping your employees engaged is important for the success of your organization. According to Entrepreneur magazine, highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave your company and are 21% more productive. There is a 51% difference in profitability between companies with an engaged staff compared to those with a disengaged staff.
There are many other benefits of an engaged workforce that adherently affect your bottom line. Your employees are ambassadors for your company, whether they enjoy working there or not; engaged workers who are strongly connected to the work that they do will, in turn, increase your company’s reputation. Highly engaged employees also have fewer absences compared to disengaged employees. Employee engagement also leads to happiness, which is nature’s greatest stress reliever. Happy teams are not only more productive, but they create a much healthier working environment for other employees.
Without employee engagement, your workplace is unmotivated, uncommitted and unreliable. They are toxic within your workplace, and often complain and gossip to others, distracting employees and spreading negativity around the office. They lack enthusiasm as well as initiative and have no growth potential within your organization. Disengaged employees weigh your organization down from reaching its full potential, and do not promote a strong company culture.
When looking to improve employee engagement within your organization, start by focusing on your own actions and the actions of your leadership team. If your management team is disengaged, chances are those who report to them are disengaged as well.
Here are a few tips on how to invest in your team to engage and re-engage them:
- Share company information with them to give them more stake in the business: Open up to your team regarding your business goals and the direction you want to take the company. Share with them where your business is in regards to financial goals, and successes you have recently accomplished. This will give them shared responsibility of helping you reach your goals, and a sense of trust that you disclosed to them this information. By sharing long-term goals with them, you will inspire your team about the future of the company and their role in making it happen.
- Ask for ideas or input on challenges and needs your company is facing: If you don’t frequently ask your team for advice or answers to a problem, they may feel their opinion or voice isn’t valued within your organization and may disengage out of defense. Allow them to be more involved in the decisions of the company, and they will become more invested in solving the issue at hand.
- Evaluate how you treat your team: When was the last time you thanked a team member for a job well done? Feeling underappreciated often leads to disengagement. Let individual members of your team know when they’ve done a good job, and celebrate those who performed over and above what you expected.
- Be sure your say/do ratio are the same: Are you a reliable team member? Do you do as much as you say you’ll do? Reliable leaders have a high say/do ratio — they keep their word and rise above excuses, and expect their employees to do the same. If you have been known to fall short of commitments or assignments that you have taken on, make an effort to improve upon that. Your team scrutinizes your work performance and may feel justified to slack off if you aren’t showing dedication to your work as well.
- Give them a reason to engage: Create a clear purpose for your company (in addition to profit), clear core values for your organization, as well as clear business goals and priorities. Emphasize and reiterate these goals and values in all aspects of your organization, and your employees will buy into the direction with renewed enthusiasm. It is important to create company-wide, department-wide, and individual goals with each employee.
- Have a personal development process: People stay invested in employers that invest in them. This is especially important for millennials — 87% say professional development and career growth opportunities are important to them. This involves getting to know your employees and understanding what their own career, business and personal goals are, and providing them with resources or training that will help them grow.
- Don’t forget to have fun as an organization: 69% of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated. When your employees are stuck in the doldrums, sometimes all they need is to be shown appreciation. Take time out of the workday (or after work hours) to celebrate successes and give recognition for accomplishments and milestones. Create an incentive that gives others motivation reach their goals.