We often make the concept of employee engagement more complicated than it needs to be. We know, personally, what engages us, but when it comes to putting it into practice within large organizations, it can seem daunting. Here are five simple truths of employee engagement, and how to make them come to life in your company:
- Have a personal connection with your employees. Every employee should have a manager who not only knows the work that employee is doing, but also knows who they are as a person, and what they care about.HOW: Managers need to have regular one-on-ones with their employees, either in person or virtually. During those meetings, in addition to getting and giving updates on work, managers should also learn about the important people and events in the employee’s life. This personal touch only takes a few minutes, and the loyalty and commitment pay-off is big.
- Make sure every employee feels like an insider in your company, is privy to important business information and is regularly asked for their input and ideas. When an employee is treated like a critical team member, he/she will rise to the expectation.HOW: Executives need to share and trust employees with enough strategy that they are able to translate it to their own work, and feel they’re contributing to what’s important in the company. Managers need to follow suit and bring their employees in on their strategic priorities. In addition, there should be multiple ways for employees to give feedback on an ongoing basis.
- Connect the work your company does to a greater purpose. Everyone wants to be a part of making a difference in the world, and when employees can accomplish that desire through the work they do every day, all the better!HOW: Clearly articulate how the work your company does positively impacts people and/or the planet. Communicate this greater purpose frequently, and create opportunities for employees to connect with it directly. In addition, pump up sustainability and philanthropy efforts and invite employees to participate.
- Provide opportunities to build community and friendship within your company. When employees know and care about each other, they collaborate more, enjoy work and contribute on a higher level.HOW: Ensure there is time for teams to get to know each other on a personal level. This can be as simple as starting a weekly staff meeting with a quick question such as “What was the best thing that happened to you over the weekend?” Create opportunities for personal and professional interest communities to form within the company.
- Show your employees that you value them through how they are treated, their compensation, benefits, perks and opportunities.HOW: Develop and nurture a positive culture within which your employees can thrive. Support the overall wellness of both your employees and their families through benefits and perks. Ask employees what’s important to them. It can often be something very simple that makes a huge difference.
These five truths of employee engagement are basic and fundamental, and yet most companies ignore part or all of them. Now, with employee engagement software, many of these strategies can be implemented online as well, complementing your in-person employee interactions. When it comes to engaging and motivating employees, not even free food, jazzy offices, or a volleyball court can compete with being respected, cared for and valued!