There’s a mountain of material out there on how to engage employees in an organization. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what’s best, what fits your mandate, your budget, your culture and your specific workplace.
For example, some large businesses can afford to give their employees the moon and the stars when it comes to external rewards. According to a Harvard Business Review book called, HBR Guide to Motivating People, “Google is famous for its over-the-top perks which include lunches made by a professional chef, biweekly massages, yoga classes and haircuts. Twitter employees enjoy three catered meals per day, on site acupuncture and improv classes.”
But if you’re a smaller organization, that’s impossible! It’s all right. It’s not a deal breaker by a long shot because pricey rewards like these alone are probably not enough to keep the best talent in your organization. But there are some basic gestures to unlock engagement. If an organization focuses on those, they’re more likely to strike gold and inspire members of their organization to do their best, no matter their size.
According to a Deloitte article titled, “Becoming Irresistible: A New Model for Employee Engagement,” written by Josh Bersin, “Companies need to expand their thinking about what “engagement” means today, giving managers and leaders specific practices they can adopt, and holding line leaders accountable.”
Here are the top six proven strategies that work to drive engagement time and again:
- Make sure the right people are in the right position
- Seems like common sense, doesn’t it? But often, there can be a mismatch. Organizations need to watch what skills and personality traits deliver the best results in a specific position and only place those kinds of people in those kinds of jobs.
- Don’t ever let an employee’s work turn into a job
- When employees do great work, they need to know that their methods are seen and valued by management. They also need to know that their thoughts and ideas are welcomed, respected and appreciated. Without that, they start to feel like a machine in an assembly line.
- Managers need to eat, drink and sleep, engagement
- Managers need to be trained on engagement and how to consistently engage employees every day through their values, actions and words
- Employees need to feel that they can be themselves at work
- Each hard-working employee needs to feel comfortable and accepted at work. They also need to know that their organization will respect their need to tend to personal responsibilities when necessary
- Management needs to notice, state and actively encourage employee talent and growth
- An employee should feel that their manager has their back. They should know that their manager supports their career growth by listening to their work preferences, acknowledging their strengths and giving them the work experiences, education and support to excel at the work they enjoy doing
- The workspace and the people in it, need to be noticed and cared for – always
- Surveys and management-employee conversations need to be the norm, not the exception, so that everyone knows the current state of the employees and their workplace at all times. This hits a few targets:
- It keeps everyone informed so it builds trust and connection
- It’ll help to spot new ideas and areas for improvement
- It prevents small fires from turning into big explosions.
In line with Brent Gleeson’s point in a Forbes.com article called, The Top 10 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement with Better Results, “As the saying goes, anything important must be measured and managed.”
Gleeson adds that the solution for better employee engagement in organizations is clear. “Generally speaking, not enough leaders take the time to prioritize engagement, measure it, respond to the data and put formal programs in place to improve it. In my experience as Navy SEAL and entrepreneur, engagement is a direct result of leadership behaviors and culture – for better or worse.”