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How can I engage with my employees?

How can I engage with my employees?

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According to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 26% of people rarely or never look forward to coming to work, while 29% are dissatisfied with the opportunities they have to use their abilities. Nearly a quarter feel their job is very stressful, while nearly half say they face excessive pressure on a regular basis.

How would you say your staff felt about coming to work? Do you feel you are operating in a perfect environment or is there room for improvement in morale? If you’re agreeing with the latter the key just maybe employee engagement.

The holy grail of employee engagement is a mystical combination of commitment plus willing. It’s not about specific skills or individual talents. It is more than mere job satisfaction, and greater than simple motivation. Engagement is not something an employer can demand; it is rather something both employer and employee must contribute to.

Yet the real, tangible economic benefits of this phenomenon seem all too clear: optimum business performance. So, clearly, in an economic climate scarred by downturn, the need to have an engaged workforce has never been greater.

It’s a two-way street. If you want employees to engage with you, you must make an effort to connect with them. Your workforce needs to believe that you believe in and care about the process. To achieve true engagement, you need to focus on these main areas:

Understanding what motivates your staff

  • Respect – Make them realise they are valued and integral in the success of the organisation and are treated fairly.
  • Achievement – Able to accomplish goals and have pride in one's job and employer.
  • Esprit de corps – Enjoying positive relationships and a sense of camaraderie with fellow employees.

Constructive leadership

  • Information – Keep employees in the loop so they understand what your business is trying to achieve. This helps them understand why their work is important and appreciated.
  • Feedback – Give employees feedback so they know what is expected of them and how they can improve. Reinforce good work with positive feedback and it becomes even better. When work isn’t up to scratch, employees can benefit from knowing, in order to improve. Instead of opting for a one time annual performance review try talking to staff regularly, so there are no surprises.
  • Interact – When interaction with the bosses and management doesn’t exist, even the most motivated staff lose direction, energy and dedication. Make sure your business makes time to truly converse with staff as individuals. And, remember, listening is more important than talking.
  • Development – Ensureyour line managers consult with team members in key decisions affecting their work. Supporting the teams and addressing ongoing training needs can help employees develop and advance in experience and responsibility.
  • Whole person – People have lives outside of work. Make sure your business takes time to know the person outside of work too by learning what’s important in their lives. Support them through bad times and good and acknowledge the existence of their – and your – personal life.
  • Flexibility – Its been said before, but it is one of the most attractive, satisfying and retentive tools available to engage with staff. The ability to give employees choices in how they manage their work-life balance is increasingly becoming more important than an increase in salary.

A positive work environment

  • Personal space – If possible, give staff their own dedicated working space.
  • Light – Don’t underestimate the importance of natural light in creating a bright, attractive and cheerful working environment.
  • Bully-free – Have an anti-bullying policy in place and ban harassment, discrimination, persecution, conflict and violence from your workplace.
  • Fun – Positive people work in positive environments. Make your workplace feel happy. Take time to laugh and celebrate together, both personal and professional milestones.

By paying attention to these three areas; increased loyalty, easier recruitment of greater calibre staff, lower staff turnover and higher productivity will surely follow. Certainly an engagement to celebrate!