More than 70 percent of U.S. employees are not engaged at work, according to a recent study conducted by Dale Carnegie Training. While this number is sobering, even more shocking is this: Companies with engaged employees outperform unengaged companies by 202 percent!So how do you keep your staff engaged at work? Below are 10 tips:
1. Ask your employees what they want from their jobs.
This may seem simple, but it’s one of the easiest ways to show that you’re interested in helping your people be happier at work. If you’re not already having one-on-one meetings with your direct reports, schedule at least one per quarter (or more frequently, if you can) to give staff members a chance to voice their opinions. Make it clear that these meetings are meant to be candid and open. Write down feedback you receive and create an action plan for making necessary changes.
2. Have your staff rank their engagement from 1-10.
Not only does this exercise allow you to quickly measure how engaged your employees are at work, it gives you a chance to ask what you — and the company — can do to raise engagement to a 10. While you won’t be able to please everyone, especially since some disengagement is purely circumstantial, you’ll find that some staff members would be happier with a slight pay raise or even increased recognition from leaders. Figure out simple ways to show your employees you’ve heard their responses and are committed to helping them become more engaged.
3. Remember that satisfaction is not the same as engagement.
Though it’s important to have satisfied staff members, the key to an engaged team is making sure they are satisfied and motivated. Factors like a clean, inviting workspace, competitive salary, job security and the latest work technology may keep employees satisfied enough to stick with the company, but they don’t guarantee engagement. That’s where motivators come into play — factors like relationships with leaders and coworkers, opportunities for advancement, making a difference, achievement and recognition.
4. Show your team members you appreciate them.
Employee Appreciation Day rolls around every year, and it’s a great time to recognize each member of your staff — but they’ll appreciate the recognition even more if it comes when they’re least expecting it. Surprise a hard-working assistant with flowers simply to say thank you or have lunch delivered to the office on an ordinary afternoon. Small gestures go a long way and can motivate your employees to stick with their jobs, even when work becomes stressful or mundane.
5. Communicate your company’s mission and values often.
The company’s core values and mission statement are probably mounted on the wall of the lobby, but how often do you discuss them with employees? Make it a point to talk about the values frequently and have team members think about ways to demonstrate them in their work. Discussing your company’s core values can give your people a sense of pride and ownership in the company and help them realize that they are an important part of it.
6. Be transparent (where possible) about company goals and upcoming changes.
Trust is a big factor among engaged and disengaged employees. It’s easy to lose a staff member’s trust by not communicating promotions, policy changes or upcoming circumstances that affect him or her. While it won’t always be possible to talk about sensitive issues like employee terminations or sudden schedule readjustments beforehand, your teams will appreciate your candor about issues that you can communicate early, like facility remodels or government mandates that affect your company — and doing this will help you build trust and an engaged workforce.
7. Pay attention to those who are becoming burned out at work.
While you may not be able to do much for a single mom who is exhausted from working in the office and at home or a technician who’s attending school full-time and working at your hospital when he’s not in class, simply acknowledging your staff’s busy schedules and asking them how they’re doing can make a big difference. If you notice a particularly unhappy employee, meet with him or her individually to find out what you can do to ease the workload or help him or her achieve a better work/life balance.
8. Make sure your employees’ positions are the right fit.
Sometimes it can be tempting to give a staff member extra work or promote him or her to a new position, especially when you have an unexpected hole to fill or someone is on a leave. However, overloading an employee can quickly cause discord, even if that person is too afraid to admit that he or she is overwhelmed. Before promoting someone or giving her additional responsibilities, consult with her to make sure that a new position or set of tasks fits with her goals and her schedule.
9. Encourage your staff to build strong relationships with each other.
It is often said that people leave organizations because of other people (usually their managers). Foster a healthy team environment by giving your staff time to get to know each other — whether it’s through a team-building activity at a local park, a work barbecue or even a simple birthday party for a coworker. While it may not be possible to get your entire staff away for a few hours, you can set time aside for a few teams to get to know each other quarterly and ensure that your staff knows building relationships is a priority.
10. Meet individually with team members to come up with development plans.
Don’t miss opportunities to discuss your employees’ long-term goals, especially for promotion or expanded work scope. Where possible, meet with your direct reports at least every six months to see the progress they have made and help them work toward a new position or a pay raise.
Learn more about increasing engagement in CompHealth vice president Stephanie Rollheiser’s post Employee Engagement Lessons Shared at MGMA.