For any business, employee engagement is key to getting the most from your staff and ensuring they stay motivated at work. Far more than being just about happiness, employee engagement is a gauge of the level of connection each of your employees has to your company. It shows how committed they are to working towards your organisation’s shared goals.
Engaged employees are efficient, productive, and driven – which equals higher levels of service. Improved service leads to happier customers, and therefore better business. And for that reason, it makes sense to prioritise employee engagement right from the start.
Employee engagement: best practice
But what’s the right approach when it comes to employee engagement strategies, and how do you boost motivation when it’s starting to wane? Here are six steps to nurture a high-performing workforce and keep your teams engaged.
1. Get to know your employees
It sounds obvious, but you can’t expect to connect with and motivate your employees if you don’t know what makes them tick. As a manager, aim to get know your employees on a personal level, which means being present, and hands-on, as much as possible. And once you’ve established a bond, clear communication is vital to keep employees in the loop of changes and developments. That includes listening to their feedback, and actively encouraging their ideas and suggestions to allow for two-way communication.
2. Set clear goals
Employees need to know what’s expected of them, and how they’ll be supported to achieve those goals at work. Without clear direction, it’s very easy to become disengaged and disillusioned – and nobody wants that for their staff! Work with your team members to come up with mutually agreed objectives that stretch them and have clear deliverables. Likewise, make sure your employees can see a path for career progression, with training and development opportunities tailored to them.
3. Empower your teams
Building a relationship of trust is crucial if you expect your employees to be engaged. And many businesses have had to rethink their approach to organisational trust as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the need for employees to work from home. By building in an element of mutual trust and not micromanaging your employees, you give them the space to work more proactively.
4. Give regular, constructive feedback
Check in with your employees with regular scheduled sessions, and makes sure these are two-way conversations. Yes, this is your chance to give constructive feedback in terms of how they’re progressing towards their goals. But it’s also their chance to give feedback to you, and to express their opinions on their own progress as well as the support they’ve received.
5. Recognise and celebrate achievement
Always give praise where praise is due. After all, an employee whose hard work is recognised is much more likely to be engaged and motivated to continue working at their best, than one who feels their work goes unnoticed. So, take the time to thank them – whether that’s via a spoken conversation, or a more formal recognition process. Employee rewards are another great motivator to get your teams working at their best, and more engaged with their day-to-day tasks.
6. Tackle issues as soon as you spot them
While it’s easy to brush performance issues under the carpet to avoid confrontation, the bad news is: they won’t go away on their own. So it’s worth taking a proactive approach to ensure the health of your team as a whole. An employee engagement survey can be a really good way to assess the levels of engagement in your team. If you spot signs of low morale, identify a performance issue, or come across an unresolved conflict in your team, address the issue straight away to avoid a long-term drop in employee engagement.