For decades, business people have been talking about employee engagement and the link to productivity and retention of employees. While most organizations know that engagement gives organizations a competitive edge, few have developed an employee engagement plan to take advantage of this recognized advantage.
Several studies, polls, and white papers have been done each year on the factors that contribute to employee engagement. Dale Carnegie found that there are three main pillars of employee engagement: satisfaction with the immediate manager, belief in senior leadership, and pride in the organization. If any of these pillars are missing, then the chances of the employee being engaged are drastically reduced.
Let’s take a look at each pillar and list a few easy-to-implement factors to increase satisfaction in each area.
- Satisfaction with Immediate Manager. It goes without saying that if you don’t like your immediate manager, you are probably not happy with your current job. Here are a few factors that could help managers connect better with their direct reports:
a. Build rapport. Treat your employees as valuable people, not just tools to get a job done. Use common pleasantries and get to know your employees on a more personal level.
b. Recognize each employee’s uniqueness. The power of the team comes from the diverse experience and opinions of the team. Take the time to recognize the strengths and contributions of each employee.
c. Coach and mentor. People want to feel like they are growing. You should get to know the goals and aspirations of your employees. Take the time to align their goals with those of the organization. Provide support, cross-training, and mentoring to help them reach their goals.
- Belief in Senior Leadership. Senior leaders have the ability to inspire and lead the whole organization by being a good example. Here are a few factors that could help senior leaders connect better with employees:
a. Senior leadership should take the time to “walk the floor.” This provides an opportunity to get to know the people in the organization. The more visible they are the more employees will connect and believe in them.
b. Senior leaders should communicate transparently. Be open and honest with employees about what is going on in the organization, industry, and business environment. Avoid the “rumor mill” by communicating important information often to ensure employees don’t find out from another source.
c. Senior leaders should be open to ideas and feedback from employees. Some of the most successful ideas have come from employees in the organization. Set up a process to let people share cost savings/revenue-generating ideas with leaders within the organization. Then give feedback to let them know which ideas are going to be implemented. People are engaged when they feel senior leaders listen to their ideas.
- Pride in the Organization. Employees connect with their managers and are inspired by the senior leaders, but they feel united with organizations that they are proud to work for. Here are a few factors that could bond organizations better with employees:
a. Be good corporate citizens. People like to know they can make a difference and/or impact the world to leave it a better place. Organizations that allow employees to give back through the organization help create an emotional connection to the employees. This could be done through food drives for the poor, sponsoring a village in an impoverished country, matching contributions given to local charities, etc.
b. Give clients a voice. Give employees a chance to hear the impact the organization makes on customers/end users. Invite customers to give “live” testimonials when possible, or video testimonials if employees are virtual. These testimonials can be recorded and stored on the company intranet. These are also great tools when onboarding new employees to help them connect from the start with the organization.
c. Create a “psychologically safe” environment. Diversity and Inclusion are big topics today within organizations. People like to know the organization treats employees fairly. Google’s “Project Oxygen” found that when employees feel they are part of an inclusive team environment that shows concern for their success and well-being of the individual members, the whole team is more productive.
Organizations that implement strategies to strengthen the three pillars of employee engagement discussed above will be able to shore up eroding employee motivation. Creating a more motivated and engaged workforce will increase productivity, excitement, and ultimately create a more profitable organization.
Interested in learning more, join us for a complimentary 90-minute webinar, Managers Matter: Remote Employee Engagement, on April 20, 2021, at 9:00 AM.