By Holly Parsons
The Wilson Agency, A UBA Partner Firm
One of the most common complaints by business owners, executives and management is the concept of employee engagement. The constant quest for getting more productivity out of people can take up an enormous amount of time and energy, and if you get smaller returns than you hoped for, it can be downright depressing…Or disengaging. So, I thought I would share my top five most effective ways of getting employees engaged in their work and your business.
- Give them a purpose. What motivates all of us is something bigger than ourselves. If we come to work thinking that we have a checklist of things to do that exist in isolation, we are less likely to be motivated. But, if there’s a reason, a connection with our tasks to something more important, we are driven and receive energy from it. Sometimes we even become more creative problem solvers.
- Give them a voice. Most people love to talk. One of the most gratifying things in life is to know you’ve been heard and that your opinion matters. If you have a challenge or a goal you are trying to reach, ask your staff what ideas they have to get there. Start with a brainstorming session, a suggestion box or a survey. Everyone is different and those diverse perspectives can be energizing and effective.
- Give them feedback. This can take the form of a quarterly or annual review. It’s always good to hear where things are working and a road map for what can be done better. Or, it can begin by summarizing what was suggested in the brainstorming or suggestion box on a survey. Be sure to follow through on what ideas are suggested. They don’t have to be acted upon, they just have to be recognized. Put them in a newsletter, or announce them at a staff meeting. Explain why or why not the idea will be implemented. Employees will feel like they can be part of a solution rather than a cog in a wheel.
- Give them your attention. I’ve noticed that there are some things we just never grow out of - acceptance and the need for attention is one of them. When a person gives acknowledgement of another, we give the message that we see them and that they are significant. We learn about what is important to them and understand how we can make their work easier, more meaningful, and ultimately more productive. If they are important to us, we often become important to them and success becomes a mutual endeavor.
- Give them your gratitude. Too often we take for granted the small things people do for us, even if it’s part of their job description. Sometimes we make the mistake of getting caught up in the daily demands of the moment and before we know it, the day is done, the week is over, a year is gone… And we have yet to thank the person for all the things they do to contribute to our success. It has been said that gratitude is the antidote for dissatisfaction. I think it’s also the antidote for disengagement.
Regardless of what position you are in your company, you can make a difference to those around you (and above and below). Take a moment to consider what you can do to help connect with those that seem disconnected. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by your impact.