We are all human, so there’s no way we can be 100% engaged with our work and at the top of our game every single day, all day. Great managers though, will know exactly how to encourage their teams and keep them performing their best whenever it is possible to do so.
Employee engagement is now one of the most talked about topics in the HR/people space. This is largely down to more and more organisations realising just how much a difference it can make when employee engagement levels are high.
A highly engaged workforce correlates directly with improved business performance. This is predominantly because engaged employees will likely produce their best work, take fewer days off sick, and will be less likely to leave their employer. This means more high-quality work and reduced sick pay and recruitment costs – all factors positively contributing to your organisation’s bottom line.
But 1) how do you know if your staff are engaged and 2) how do you help your managers to improve engagement if they are not?
1. The quickest and most efficient way of finding out the level of engagement in staff is simply by asking them in a confidential employee survey. There are some typical signs of unengaged employees you could look out for such as low productivity, careless work, lack of initiative and a withdrawal socially, but this is near impossible to do for each employee, especially in a larger organisation. Precise employee engagement surveys allow you to access a more thorough, overall picture of your entire workforce’s feelings fast so you can spend your time working on improving the outcomes instead.
As an added bonus, giving your employees the opportunity to give and receive feedback in a survey is one of the best ways of driving engagement because it builds trust, promotes positive employee dynamics, instils company values, and shows you are investing in your staff.
2. It’s near impossible to keep every single employee 100% happy all of the time (as wants and needs change quickly for us as both individuals and workers), but if you have discovered that a number of employees are disengaged, this is a problem waiting to happen. Especially if you have actively disengaged employees which is those who spread their unhappiness at work to other colleagues. Luckily, there are actions you can take to help rectify this situation…
Employee engagement is driven by a range of controllable factors but here are four of the best steps you can take to help your managers create more engaged teams:
1. Build trust and transparency – Because managers are the most frequent stream of information from the higher levels of leadership in your organisation through to employees, you can ensure you are giving them as much information as possible about the decisions being made. If managers are relaying what decisions are being made and why to employees, regarding topics such as promotions, compensation, and team restructures, then they won’t feel like information is being held back from them, and this will help foster trust. Achieving this does require buy in from your leadership team, however. Communicating the why is also just as important when managers are delegating tasks and projects. Having this information will typically make employees more eager to accomplish them.
2. Increase rewards and recognition – Creating a culture of recognition is so important for employee engagement, as is prioritising feedback. Every employee wants to feel appreciated and see that their managers are recognising and rewarding their efforts. It’s therefore a good idea to encourage managers to make positive recognition part of their day-to-day routines. This doesn’t mean having to have an extensive incentive programme or splash out on gifts, treats for the office, and meals out every week. Using a simple communication channel like Slack for employee acknowledgements to the whole company is a great way to help employees feel included, recognised, and appreciated. As is a simple face to face thank you or positive feedback written in an email or on a post it note!
3. Better define and align your company culture – Employees are likely to be more engaged if they have a common goal and a shared culture. A great company culture will also create an engaging and fun work environment, but it needs to be transparent. Interestingly, a change in company culture often results in a drop in engagement levels so, firstly ensure managers are onboard with your company culture and secondly, make sure it’s being effectively communicated to their teams. When a new employee joins your company, this is a great opportunity to share or define your culture further.
4. Foster innovation and offer opportunities for learning and development – Most employees will not be satisfied doing the same tasks, the same way, every single working day. Encouraging your employees to be innovative and offering them opportunities to try new things and learn new skills not only helps to prevent boredom and improve engagement, but can help people achieve their career aspirations, too. If employees are continuing to learn whilst in roles, they are also less likely to want to leave an organisation.
HR teams are often tasked with measuring and solving employee engagement problems (whether it should be their responsibility or not is a question for another day), so ensuring managers know the best ways to engage their teams is a very good place to start.
Managers play such a big part in determining whether employees are committed to their employer or not and so ideally, they should be exhibiting behaviours and skills like the above to build great relationships and encourage employees to go the extra mile. It is also just as important (if not more so) to ensure that your managers are in fact engaged themselves as positive attitudes and behaviours are likely to rub off on others.
What must be said here however is that the last two years have been especially tough on managers – with many expressing feelings of burnout – so we wouldn’t recommend sharing these steps with managers who are already struggling and adding to their workload. It is executive leadership that ideally needs to make a concerted effort to improve these negative experiences, but HR can use these steps to help managers who are in a good place mentally (looking for ways to go above and beyond) or who have asked for help when it comes to improving employee engagement.
As highlighted above, employee surveys are crucial to understanding just how engaged your managers and their teams are. To understand how the WorkBuzz platform can support with this, simply email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the link to book a demo.