Disengaged employees cost companies upwards of $500 billion in the US every year, according to a survey by Gallup. In fact, according to a study carried out by Achievers, only 21% of employees report being highly engaged in their work.
That means the majority of your employees are far less productive and this could be weighing down your pockets. Today, we’ll uncover some practical tips to help keep your employees engaged so you can plug these leaks and take your business to higher levels of success.
1. Train your managers and team leaders
Management has a huge role to play in improving company culture. When the culture is supportive, employees often feel valued, which can enhance engagement. That’s why it’s essential that employee leaders and the management team are fully engaged too. Passionate managers can inspire the same passion in the people they lead.
Consider using some of the following methods to boost the engagement of management:
- give your managers and team leaders enough resources so they can empower employees to perform better
- introduce programs from leading experts such as negotiations.com on leadership skills to help leaders manage their teams proactively and effectively
- encourage open and regular conversations about the workplace culture (managers can learn from each other and exchange ideas on employee engagement)
2. Encourage personal growth
Growth and development are often powerful driving forces that can motivate employees. When employees don’t see any room to climb further than they’ve gotten, they usually switch off and begin to look for the next challenge elsewhere.
To keep your employees engaged, it helps to ensure that they see scope for growth through more opportunities to learn and stay challenged. Consider creating a personal growth program for employees at all levels, from executives down to interns.
You can take steps such as:
- offering a learning-related budget commensurate with the employee’s grade
- scouting opportunities for your teams to attend industry-related events and conferences
- providing onsite coaching and upskilling courses
- allowing employees to take study leave opportunities or giving them time to pursue their own personal development training programs during the week
Also, encourage your teams to create personal plans for self and career development to explore and cement your employees’ strengths. By making personal development a priority, employees will often jump at the chance to apply what they learn.
3. Set transparent goals
Your employees may find it hard to stay engaged when they are hazy about what’s expected of them.
Communicate your company’s vision, mission, and strategic targets. Clarify individual and team goals and targets. When employees understand what’s expected of them, they are more likely to own the tasks and stay focused.
When you’re onboarding new staff or assigning new tasks, offer crystal clear explanations and detailed written-down job descriptions so everyone involved can be on the same page. It also helps to periodically revise goals and targets to maintain engagement.
4. Keep lines of communication open
In environments where employees feel like no one listens to them or their opinions don’t matter, they are more likely to disengage. Why even bother, they may think. In these cases, employees are likely to simply go through the motions at work, making their performance subpar.
So, create a two-way street for communication. Instead of only relating instructions to your employees from the top-down, also allow your employees to chime in during strategy meetings and goal setting and note down their feedback for further consideration.
Implement regular feedback meetings onsite or online where your employees can put forward their suggestions and negotiate with managers on how to solve the different issues affecting their work. When receiving feedback, do your best to actively listen to your employees’ concenrns and ask questions.
You can also use feedback meetings to praise your employees and highlight areas that still need improvement. Remember not to turn these meetings into witch-hunts and avoid focusing on negative feedback, which may demoralize or discourage your team. It’s also important to take the discussions seriously and show that you are committed to implementing change.
5. Focus on output
Time spent behind a desk doesn’t always equate to work done. Consider moving from time-based performance measures to focus on measuring the work output. By concentrating only on results, you give your employees more flexibility to perform the work they trained for.
Allowing your employees more leeway can also help them focus on delivering quality outputs rather than giving the impression that they are working. When they are working, they will more likely use the time effectively and productively.
Leaning on output measures also affords your employees the chance to deal with personal matters such as their kids’ football games. A healthy work-life balance often makes employees feel more fulfilled and can enable them to perform better.
6. Allow some fun and destressing at work
Statistics compiled by Hirebook show that 61% of employees feel tired and burned out as a result of work. This has a domino effect on future work. So, it also helps to leave some wiggle room for fun in the workplace. When the office feels like a prison cell, employees are unlikely to perform at their peak.
Consider some fun activities such as:
- games in the breakroom
- onsite team building activities
- competitions and contests
- theme days
You can also plan events outside of work. For instance, you may want to organize a barbeque in nature where employees can bring their families along or a team for a marathon to raise money for a charity. This will allow your employees to destress outside the office space while also building stronger ties with the rest of the organization.
You can also improve teamwork and inter-team engagement through skill development activities such as negotiation skills training games. This can not only raise the team morale but also develop their profiles and training at the same time.
Besides the fun and games, consider creating a wellness program to help your team cope with health issues. Your program can incorporate the following:
- healthy food awareness
- counseling services
- health checks
- information about exercise and training
- group fitness classes e.g. yoga, pilates or HIIT
All in all, there’s no one size fits all solution for employee engagement, so try different methods until you land on the best approach for your organization.