We recently published an article about employee engagement, defining what it is and why it's so important for businesses of all sizes. Now that you know that employee engagement is essentially an emotional connection between your staff and your company's goals and mission, and that it can really boost your business' bottom line, you probably want to know how best to achieve employee engagement. Here are some suggestions that are both quick and affordable to implement.
Involve everyone from the outset
If employee engagement is a new concept in your company, but one you're very keen to work on, then the best way to start this process is by telling everyone why you'd like to improve engagement. This transparency and honesty will be refreshing to your staff, especially when you're essentially telling them that you want to improve their working life, and that you value their well-being.
You can also find out what your starting point is by asking your staff what their understanding of your company's goals is, and how they would feel more engaged with what the business stands for. This is a great way to kick-start the employee engagement process.
Employee engagement is not one person's responsibility
It shouldn't be up to one person alone to single-handedly devise and manage an "employee engagement policy". While a plan and strategy may be best discussed among management, remember that to really understand why your staff aren't always engaged at work is to ask them. This is a process that should be repeated regularly in the future in order to always have a good understanding of what your employees are thinking and feeling.
Set out clear company goals
Part of the engagement process is ensuring employees know, understand and align themselves with the goals or mission statement of your company. That doesn't mean they have boosting your business' bottom line as their number one ambition, but rather they share the company's values. These should therefore be set out in a mission statement, and if necessary, in further detail in a place your employees can always access them, like your staff handbook or your intranet site. Focus on what the company believes in - equality, inclusion, sustainability and so on - rather than what it wants to achieve - profit, growth, world domination! - and ensure that your employees are reminded of these goals through all the policies and practices that affect them.
Make it fun!
If you see employee engagement as another item on your To Do List or you feel stressed out by the idea of writing yet another policy document, it's not the best start to a process that should boost morale and create a better environment for everyone. Instead, try to think of the positive things your company does and the ways in which you can encourage fun and increased interaction among your employees, in line with your company's values. This could be by allowing staff to take a day or two for volunteering or personal projects that fit well with your mission statement. Alternatively, you could arrange some team-building or social events or well-being initiatives that prove to your employees you care about their work-life balance. This will make them more aware of other things you are doing to make their working lives better.
Encourage two-way communication
Engagement is essentially achieved through good communication. Firstly, through effective and clear communication of your company's goals, and secondly by welcoming feedback and input from employees in relation to them, and other areas of your business. Managers and business owners are often very experienced at giving out information but can be less skillful at listening. Communication works best when it is two-way. By this, we mean you focus on receiving information as much as you do on giving it.
Aim to create an environment where employees are encouraged and feel comfortable to share ideas and speak up when they feel something isn’t working well.
Lead by example
If you want your employees to be engaged with your business, it stands that those who manage them are engaged with the businesses goals and vision. If employees see managers cutting corners or not giving 100%, they may think ‘why should I be putting in the effort when they aren’t.
Strive to be an organisation that leads by example by hiring and training managers to proactive demonstrate their own support and loyalty for your business.