How to Engage Employees
What is Employee Engagement?
What is employee engagement? Employee engagement occurs in business when the employee takes ownership of his or her job. They don’t just show up for a paycheck; they are committed to their job because not only do they like it, but they feel that they can make a difference in what they do. They are committed to doing the very best job they can to get their work done not only right, but above and beyond expectations. They have an emotional commitment toward the company’s goals. Employee engagement doesn’t happen magically. It is built on trust and integrity as well as honest communication between management and the employees.
In today’s business, managers often mistake happy employees or employees who show up for different functions and meetings for engaged employees. Employees who show up for meetings and functions may or may not be engaged employees. Employees may be happy at their job, but they may not be committed to doing the very best they can because they have an emotional engagement with the work. They may not trust the company they work for or maybe they don’t understand the goal of the project they work on. The good news is that there are methods of employee engagement that managers can implement that can help their employees become more engaged.
Employee engagement examples include:
- Employees who are committed to getting the job done right
- Employees who offer new ideas and creative ways to improve their efficiency and the company
- Employees who look forward to coming into work because the work they do is interesting to them
Why is employee engagement important? It’s important because they become more productive and more creative employees. Engaged employees are happy and productive, and their commitment not only produces a better product, but they also work toward making a company more successful. Improving employee engagement to drive business performance should be a priority task for managers.
What Great Managers do to Engage Employees
Managers can greatly impact employee engagement. A managers impact on employee engagement can greatly affect the success or failure of an organization. First, a manager must always know how to engage employees. This requires the manager be open and available to employees to discuss all matters, be it work or not. The manager needs to be open and honest with their employees, offering employee performance improvement suggestions when needed. They can do this through meetings to help evaluate the employee’s performance on a task by offering more efficient ways the employee might be to complete or improve the task at hand. Focus on the employee’s strengths, rather than their weaknesses. This will help the employee understand how to better perform his or her tasks using their best abilities to accomplish them. Employee performance improvement suggestions should be given in a positive manner rather than negatively. Great managers know how to keep employees engaged and motivated by basing their employee’s performance evaluations on clear goals and expectations. If the employee isn’t sure what is expected of him or her, he or she can lose track of the task’s overall goals. This can lead to employee dissatisfaction and eventual disengagement.
Great managers also recognize their employees in meaningful ways. That means treating them positively and honestly. It’s also important for managers to know when to step in and help employees and when to let them figure the task out for themselves. This is tough, but it involves an engaged manager who knows and understands their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. It also helps for managers know their own strengths and weaknesses and be honest about them to themselves. Only this way can they truly be engaging managers who can foster employee engagement. Great managers also let their team know that they are appreciated.
How to Engage Employees in Meetings
Most employees groan when they hear they must attend a staff meeting. They see the meeting as a burden and unnecessary. Good managers know how to engage employees in their meetings so that the meeting becomes a value added task and not just an interruption. The manager should work toward how to improve team meetings in order to get employee engagement. Managers can teach employees how to contribute effectively in meetings by assigning portions of the meeting presentation to them.
How to Have a Great Staff Meeting
Having a great staff meeting starts by planning to have each and every employee participate. Managers need to expect every employee to become engaged, whether they are the new hire or the old hat who knows what’s going on. By taking control of the meeting and setting goals for the meeting, managers can ensure that their employees stay focused and engaged. Here are some tips to consider:
- Plan the meeting ahead of time and let each employee know they will be required to input on topics specific to them.
- Start out with good news and praise for employees who have done good work.
- Have a brainstorming session and request those who don’t speak up to add their suggestions and ideas.
- Assign a section of the meeting to each employee, so he or she comes prepared to be engaged.
- Ask questions when employees offer ideas, so they can further refine the idea and come up with an amazing solution.
- Keep the meeting short and to the point.
- Keep the meeting on track and not let one employee sidetrack or monopolize the meeting.
- Plan on having the meeting midmorning or mid-afternoon. Too early and the employees may be too tired. Too late, and they’re thinking about going home.
Creative Ideas for Staff Meetings
Often staff meetings can become boring and tedious. Good managers know how to keep the staff meeting fresh and their employees attentive during meetings by using their creativity to keep their employees engaged.
Creative ideas for staff meetings include:
- Choosing a different venue for the staff meeting: a different room in the building, outside, at a local coffee shop that has a meeting room, or someplace offsite that gets the employees out of their rut.
- Hold a standing or walking meeting.
- Offer refreshments: cookies, doughnuts, or more healthy snacks.
- Have visual props, such as a PowerPoint presentation, a video, charts, or graphs.
- Split up employees into groups with each group being as diverse as possible. Have them brainstorm ideas and then each group presents them to everyone.
- Don’t allow naysayers to squash ideas. Throw soft sponge or NERF balls or plush soft toys at the troublemakers when they get out of line. (Or hand out soft NERF balls to everyone and if anyone is negative, allow the employees to throw their NERF balls at the person.)
- Have a quick quiz at the end of the meeting regarding the topics covered. The employee who is the first to get all the answers right gets a small prize.
How to Improve Employee Engagement—5 Employee Engagement Activities
Great managers know they must use different employee engagement activities to keep their employees engaged. But sometimes how to improve employee engagement may seem difficult at times. Successful employee engagement programs include small fun activities for employees, requesting suggestions for improvement in the workplace, and requiring participation from all employees. Here are five employee engagement strategies that are creative ways to engage employees.
- Provide training and learning opportunities for employees. Many employees who quit do so because they don’t see any opportunities to improve their skills and their abilities.
- Have frequent brainstorming sessions. Pair up workers who normally don’t interact and give them a task to brainstorm over. Then have everyone meet and offer their ideas to the group.
- Design a logo for the department. Get the employee’s input on what the logo should look like
- Reward employees for accomplishments and completed milestones. The rewards can be simple: coffee mugs with the team’s logo, passes to sporting events, gift certificates to restaurants, or something that is simple that they would like.
- Create a program where others share their knowledge about the work they do. Set up a mentor program where team members are paired up with others, so they learn how to do certain tasks that the other person knows. That way, when one person is sick or on vacation, another person can step in and keep things going smoothly. This increases knowledge and trains others to work outside their own expertise, so they become more engaged.
Successful employee engagement strategies start with great managers who are willing to put forth the effort to become engaged, themselves. These managers know that engaged employees don’t just happen through luck, but through successful management practices. Employee engagement is crucial for companies to be successful. With honesty, integrity, and creative thinking, a great manager can foster employee engagement in his or her team and do great things for the company. Employees want to take ownership of their work and pride themselves on a job well done. It is up to the manager to foster that as well as good teamwork among his or her employees.
Engaging employees doesn’t have to be difficult. These five activites are a great way to ensure you have happy and engaged employees. If you’re ready to improve employee engagement, we can help. Learn more or get a demo today.