In my previous post, I wrote about the high cost of the disengaged workforce. Research has shown that the number one driver that promotes engagement is the relationship between the employee and their manager. Improving communication skills and strategies of your management team is an important first step towards cultivating an environment in which engaged employees can flourish.
Employee engagement is not something that can be simply manufactured. However, there are several drivers that, if managed properly can enrich the levels of employee engagement in your organization. They include:
Live your values. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch says “take the values plaque off the wall.” Your employees should not only know your mission and vision for the organization, they should see their leaders living those values every day.
People First. You want your environment to be one in which all people feel valued. Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher believes that if you treat your employees like customers, they will in turn provide great customer service.
Communication. Clearly communicate job expectations. Encourage open, honest, two-way communication – including criticism. Be transparent in sharing financial information about the company. Employ a continuous feedback loop. Provide genuine encouragement.
Encourage innovation and risk taking. Develop an environment where employees feel the freedom to challenge the status quo and create new ideas. Recognize and provide incentives for their accomplishments. Encourage “outside the box” thinking and challenges to conventional organizational approaches.
Delegate and empower. All too often, employees are given a task but not the freedom to manage the project in the way that best works for them. When you delegate a responsibility to someone you must trust them to do the job and avoid micromanaging their progress. Nothing deflates an employee more than being assigned a responsibility and having the boss taking every opportunity to tell them how to do the job.
Career advancement and development opportunities. Employees want to know that you genuinely care about their career. If your organization has an established reputation of investing in the continuous development of employees, you will find that will be able to attract and keep top talent.
Author Kevin Kruse has identified what he calls the Engagement-Profit Chain which he ties to the ROI of engagement. He says engaged employees lead to higher service, quality and productivity, which leads to higher customer satisfaction, which leads to, increased sales and higher levels of profits.
Developing engaged and effective employees in your organization is, quite simply, good business.