What does an engaged employee look and work like? You might imagine someone full of energy, ready to take on challenges and dedicate themselves to consistently producing high-quality work. They arrive and leave the office in a good mood, inspiring their peers to do the same. Through and through, they enjoy their work.
However, it’s not always obvious which employees are engaged and which are disengaged. With 68% of employees being disengaged, it’s likely that a majority of your employees are simply skating through the day.
Should managers expect employees to be utterly devoted to their work 24/7? Not necessarily. But if managers add a higher purpose to their employees’ work, work that employees feel they have a personal stake in, then the workplace will be more positive, efficient, and engaged.
Below are five strategies managers can use to better engage their employees and make a positive impact in the workplace.
Previously in our blog, we spoke about how instilling an intrapreneurial spirit in your employees can help your company. By giving your employees the time and space to solve issues creatively, you solve your issues while you engage your employees.
There are a number of reasons why managers may not already encourage intrapreneurship to their employees. Resources, time, and pressing projects stand in the way of any innovation program, as well as management’s desire to maintain the established position the company has worked hard to reach.
Unfortunately, no company has a totally stable position in the current climate. Technology is advancing at hyperspeed. Disruptive startups are creating entirely new industries and upheaving old ones. These are modern challenges that businesses must face with an equal amount of innovative thinking. There’s nothing wrong with proceeding with business conservatively, but by encouraging your employees to operate in the same way as your competitors, you and your employees can feel like you’re the disruptors.
Managers should ask all employees to act intrapreneurially, but they should especially recognize those that are already primed for innovation. Nearly 41% of work-ready, tech-savvy Gen Z’ers want to be entrepreneurs. Don’t stifle their skills and interests.
Keep your employees up to date
Your employees deserve to know the successes and shortcomings of the company they work for. If they’re left in the dark, they think one of three things: things are going well, things are going terribly, or things are going just fine. No matter the scenario, employees figure it has little to do with them and their work if they’re not given any feedback.
Check up on departments and employees regularly, letting them know how things are doing as a result of their department. If asking an employee to take on more responsibility, explain to them why they’ve been chosen. Doing this in-person is optimal, but it isn’t always feasible with conflicting schedules and constant meetings. Consider using a messaging platform like Slack, where you can instantly and transparently share multimedia information. It certainly beats the slow, impersonal “cold-set print” of emails.
You don’t have to divulge everything every success or shortcoming. But if you share those that are significant enough to affect many, you will motivate and engage your employees in the long run.
Whether someone is an experienced or an entry-level employee, they can learn a thing or two from someone with a different and deeper understanding of their industry. They have experienced its highs and lows, and they probably have some advice on how others can come out on the other side.
Of course, mentorships shouldn’t be an exercise in power. There should be a mutual respect, an understanding that the mentor is there to help the protégé be engaged and happy. After all, employees who dread coming to work likely probably aren’t enjoying themselves.
The issue with forming mentorships is that management must be able to recognize both engaged and disengaged employees. If these other strategies are also implemented, however, mentorships are a step to ensure future generations of employees are set up for success.
Connect your employees with customers
If an employee is disengaged due to poor communication, that feeling trickles down to your customers. It’s palpable to customer when your front-line employees are disengaged; customers can sense that the employee would rather be anywhere else doing anything else. Dissatisfied customers don’t make for repeat customers.
Your front-line employees don’t have to be the only ones to engage with your customers. When those behind the scenes see who benefits from their work, they’re motivated to work harder. You could invite them to PR events where they can interact with customers themselves, or you could share your own customer stories that makes it that much more real for them.
Employees don’t work in a vacuum, and knowing that can have a sobering effect.
Crowdsourcing is one of the surest ways to engage your employees. It encourages employees and managers alike to communicate across departments and responsibility levels, bringing everyone within a company together to achieve a common goal.
Crowdsourcing is often thought of as a way for companies to interact with customers. Think of PepsiCo asking consumers to submit their ideas for new product flavors. PepsiCo provides the space for their customers to speak directly to them, and they use their customers’ input to satisfy them.
Crowdsourcing does the same thing when implemented internally. It fills employees’ knowledge gaps; accelerates processes; reduces operational costs; and increases customer engagement. Empowering your employees with a voice can also improve your company’s bottom line.
Idea management platforms are one application of crowdsourcing. They bring up problems within your business, collect your employees thoughts on how to address them, and help management fix them quickly and easily.
If you want to engage your employees and run an overall more positive workplace, book a free demo of Ideawake’s idea management software here.