While there are many ways to define employee engagement, it basically means having staff who feel connected to your business, buy in to what you are trying to do, feel they are involved and productive, and plan to stay with your organization.
Depending on the nature of your business, the definition of productivity can range from selling more goods to bringing in more revenue, giving good customer service, or simply going above and beyond what guests expect. To have productive employees, you need engaged employees. Here are a few easy steps you can follow to that end.
- Review your organization’s hiring process: Develop an accurate job description. Have a hiring process that examines candidates from different points of views – from multiple interviews to tests. Ensure that you interview for attitude as well as skills. Conduct reference checks with previous employers. Make sure your new staff have the values that are important to your business.
- Develop relationships: Get to know your staff, in terms of what’s important to them, what they do in their spare time, why they decided to work for you and how you can help them achieve what they seek. Share with them who you are, and what you and your business are all about.
- Communicate: Make sure your staff know where your business is going, what you are trying to achieve, and how they can help.
- Set expectations: Make sure your staff understand what is expected of them.
- Develop measurement processes: Developing meaningful measurements not only helps you keep track of how your business is doing, it also helps employees’ efforts in measuring their own accomplishments in the workplace.
- Provide direction and resources: Ensure that your staff have the guidance and direction they need to make the right decisions. Make sure they have the tools and resources needed to do the job. Provide for training so that they have the skills they need to succeed.
- Empower and value each individual: Give staff the power to make decisions. Show your trust by supporting employee initiatives to handle responsibilities themselves.
- Listen: When staff have something to share with you, give them the time they deserve, and listen to them in an open and honest fashion. Open the door to receive regular feedback from your employees in a non-judgmental manner, whether through an organizational blog, face-to-face meetings or in whatever way works for you and your people.
- Give feedback and reward: Give performance feedback, letting your staff know how they are doing and what you are willing to do to help them learn and grow. Spell out the rewards for achieving specific business goals. Find out the ways your employees will feel rewarded and motivated: Are cash incentives the right thing? Delegation of responsibility? Opportunities for promotion and professional development?
- Stick to your word: Make sure to come through with the things you promise. If you break your word, you damage the trust the employees have in you and your organization.
- Persevere: Just as you keep in touch with the changing marketplace, you need to remain abreast of what your employees value and need. Expect to meet some needs, but not all of them and not all at once. Don’t be afraid to say you can do better. Provide a model for the values you are trying to support in your employees.
By following these principles, you provide your staff with an environment in which they can thrive. When staff feel that you care about them, know who they are and that you support them, they will in return strive to achieve your business objectives.