Why is employee engagement so important and what can managers do to foster it within their staff? HR consultant Kate Marchant gives 8 key employee engagement tips for managers in this guide.
What do we mean by employee engagement?
Employee engagement can be defined as the degree to which employees are motivated and invested in their work and the company they work for. It is important, as it connects an individual to the company they work for and helps employees develop an emotional connection to the people they work with.
When this connection exists, you will have a happier and healthier workforce that is more fulfilled and ultimately more likely to drive improved productivity or provide a better service, depending on the arena the business operates within.
8 employee engagement tips for management
Employee engagement is not just about job satisfaction; it is more complex, as it is influenced by a number of factors including location, culture, and individual characteristics. Given the above context and the complexities around the same, employee engagement levels can often fluctuate and this article looks at how managers can maintain high engagement levels.
1. Live your mission, values, and vision
In order to bring the company mission alive, managers need to live and breathe the particular values of the company and really integrate these in the way they go about their day-to-day role and how they lead. This helps employees understand what the company’s mission statement and vision means in reality and the type of behaviour to adapt to in order to realise this.
When employees have a good understanding of the values and mission, they are more likely to feel part of something and be more inspired. Managers need to lead by example and hold all team members to account, making sure they understand what’s expected of each individual member.
2. Provide meaningful feedback
Providing good quality, authentic and genuine feedback is a great way to maintain engagement levels. There is an art to giving good feedback and it should never be given in the heat of the moment. Rather, using observation, impact and effect helps those on the receiving end to understand what they are doing well and not so well.
Feedback, even if negative, can be highly motivating as long as it is delivered in a constructive way. Those managers who provide regular feedback as the norm are likely to have more engaged and motivated employees.
3. Show you care
As well as having regular catch ups about performance and progress, many employees appreciate a manager who takes time out to check on their wellbeing and how they are doing, if they have any challenges (work or personal), and whether they need any support.
Having wellbeing catch ups is a great way to connect with your employees and make them feel they matter to you. It also allows for early intervention in the event there are health and wellbeing issues, which may include signposting employees about where to go to in order to get more specialist support and advice. Showing you care about employees as individuals can promote a sense of belonging which, again, is a great help in increasing overall engagement levels.
4. Team building and volunteering opportunities
So many people are looking to work for a company that cares about making a positive contribution to society. Volunteering unites employees towards a common greater good and allows them to connect with each other on a deeper level.
Businesses that invest in volunteering opportunities for their teams will enable managers and their reports to come together as a team in pursuit of a different societal goal and allow for greater bonding, all of which helps increase their engagement levels as they know they are contributing to society and, not only that, but it also shows them the business cares about making a difference too.
Learn more: HR and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
5. Reward achievement
Engaged employees will often go out of their way to go the extra mile. However, they still want to know their manager appreciates their efforts. A manager who takes time to acknowledge their employees and allows them to also recognise their peers is likely to have a more engaged team, as their employees know they are appreciated and feel valued for their input.
6. Conduct employee engagement surveys frequently
Doing regular surveys will enable businesses and their managers to understand what’s working well and not so well. Giving individual employees the opportunity to voice their opinions demonstrates their thoughts and views matter and they can really have their say about what’s good and not so good. Remember to share the results of any engagement survey with your employees and then involve them in any action plans to address any issues or themes that the survey has highlighted.
7. Have fun!
Make sure you allow employees to connect outside of work and have some fun. Just remember to provide some variety with the events so it is inclusive – not everyone wants to go to the pub all the time so maybe a quiz, bowling or games night could provide some variety and alternatives. Or even ask your employees for ideas.
8. Encourage and foster innovation
Employees like to feel they can contribute in a meaningful way to the company’s overall mission and objectives. If they can use their own skills and expertise, they are more likely to feel more engaged and passionate about what they do. Enthusiasm can be contagious in a very positive way and those employees who are enthusiastic and positive can often help spread the feeling across the business.
Ultimately, managers have so many opportunities within their gift to increase engagement levels. And, given the current state of the labour market, it is more important than ever to have engaged employees as it will help retention levels and help attract new recruits to the business at same time, so what’s not to like?
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Written by Kate Marchant
Kate Marchant is an experienced HR professional and CIPD Associate Member who offers straight talking HR solutions for SMEs with friendly and jargon free advice through her consultancy Running HR Ltd.