One of the BIGGEST challenges facing UK businesses today is employee engagement – it has now become one of, if not, the top issue for many managers and business owners. But what does employee engagement even mean?
Yes, employee engagement is another one of the current ‘buzz words’ in business, but arriving at a precise and a practical definition of it is difficult. I like to think of employee engagement simply as being about ‘people who want to come to work to do the best job they can’. As a manager, if I can achieve this, then I am on my way to having a high-performance team.
Practical steps You Can Take
Here are seven simple, but practical steps, we can all take:
Step 1: Be a compassionate leader
I do not think people quit their jobs as much as quit their bosses. I have known lots of people including me who loved their job, but did not like working with their manager. A compassionate leader is one who cares about the health, well-being and development of people. Not only do they notice when things are not quite right, but they act. Compassionate leaders see their role as working for and supporting team members as much as providing direction and guidance.
Step 2: Provide More Employee Feedback More Often
Experience tells me that when team members get positive and constructive feedback, engagement and performance increases. Rather than relying on periodic reports and formal appraisal and reviews, provide short, regular, informal feedback and watch performance improve.
Step 3: Encourage a Work/Life Balance
The key here is ‘flexibility’. This does not mean changing people’s working times, letting them work from home or banning overtime. It means respecting people’s time and boundaries. A little flexibility here with some ‘give and take’, usually results in more ‘give’ on their part than ‘take’.’ One of my mottos is work and life is about ‘give and take’ but not always in a one for one ratio!
Step 4: Value Innovation and Agility
Things change fast in organisations today, therefore developing agile and innovative team members is critical to your business. Take time to make sure your let your teams know you value these qualities. Encourage them and ‘give them permission’ to challenge processes and to develop their own ideas and improvements – you never know just who might surprise you with a game changing idea.
Step 5: Proactively Support Development
Provide your team members with the opportunity to evolve and grow and your business. We all like to grow and develop. This does not mean everyone wants promotion and to be a ‘high flying manager’: it means we all like to learn and to improve. Become a coach, mentor and a trainer.
Step 6: Do Your Best – Nothing More and Nothing Less
This has been an Exponential Training value since the business was set up in 1999. It is a value that applies to me and to everyone at Exponential Training. It means that sometimes our performance does not meet expectations, but I know that we, collectively and individually, have done our best. Often, we exceed our expectations and that makes everyone feel GREAT!
Step 7: To Be Respected Means Being Respectful
We all get stressed when we are under pressure and sometimes we might say and behave in ways that are outside of our preferred behaviours and language patterns! I try to remember that my frustration is with the situation or myself and rarely the person. This helps me to be respectful, polite, but assertive. If your frustration is with a team member, remember, you trained them so maybe it is you that you are really frustrated with and NOT them!