How to engage employees

Employees are a hugely valuable asset to any business, so it’s crucial that employers do their utmost to keep them working to the best of their abilities. Many factors work towards getting the best out of your staff members, and effective employee engagement is one of the most important as it keeps each employee focused on the task at hand.

Often overlooked, employee engagement deserves careful consideration and a calculated approach. By getting your workforce on-side and ensuring that they’re fully engaged in their roles, you could boost company productivity from top to bottom and help to prevent a range of problems from arising in the future.

What does employee engagement mean?

Employee engagement refers to the emotional commitment that staff members have to the companies they work for. When a business is capable of making all employees feel connected and committed to its organisational goals, workers are likely to be more understanding of their roles, happier, more efficient, better equipped mentally and emotionally and more trusting of colleagues, management, company processes, and their future development.

An employee engaging with their employee

How do you engage employees in the workplace?

You can make simple changes to more effectively engage your employees in the workplace. A starting point would be to encourage employees to be themselves rather than making them feel like they should be wary of expressing opinions.

If they feel too inhibited in the workplace, they’re only likely to offer less in their role and it could lead them to feeling less invested in their work.

There are many ways to engage employees, but one universal aim is to make them feel appreciated, recognised and understood. You need to see each member of staff as an individual with specific capabilities and work out where their potential lies.

Not only is this beneficial to improving engagement, but it could help their future development, and finding opportunities to grow the capabilities of your workforce is only likely to benefit your business. Additionally, employee engagement will ensure that the organisation is clear in its values and vision, and with that precedent, employees will be actively encouraged to unite behind these factors.

How to engage employees in meetings

In many office environments, certain members of staff may only come into contact with each other when a meeting occurs.

To keep employees engaged in meetings, you should:

  • credit helpful input
  • include employees in decision making where possible
  • encourage all employees to speak
  • facilitate collaboration between employees and departments.

How to engage disengaged employees

Whether it’s down to a lack of communication, initiative, motivation, opportunity for development or a sense of frustration through feeling overlooked and unappreciated, it’s common for members of staff in a variety of industries to become disengaged.

If feelings of bitterness or resentment towards management continue to grow over long periods of time, it can be difficult to restore faith in the individuals affected, but it’s not entirely impossible.

Tips for engaging disengaged members of staff:

Request feedback –

You should arrange informal one-to-one discussions with disengaged members of staff to clear the air and get to the root of what’s made them feel so detached and unhappy with the business.

At this point, you should explain your desire to get everyone on board with the company and make it clear that you are genuinely interested in hearing their thoughts.

Monitor mood, performance and development of all employees –

Although many businesses will assess members of staff once or twice a year, you should take care to check that all employees are engaged and not beginning to harbour any ill feelings towards your company. You can do this by arranging frequent catch-ups with them.

Additionally, you should monitor their performance to check that they’re not slipping behind – which can be a sign that they are not feeling engaged or happy in their roles.

Show appreciation and provide rewards where necessary –

Feeling unappreciated is one of the primary causes of disengagement, so it’s important to make sure that you show appreciation to each member of staff. By monitoring performance and keeping up a good level of communication with each member of staff and their line managers, you will be able to see for yourself who has performed to a particularly high standard.

Once you’ve identified these members of staff, praise them directly or offer recognition in front of the entire business during regular meetings or presentations.

How to engage new employees

If you want your workforce to be completely engaged in your company’s daily processes, it would be advisable to set a precedent for all employees by encouraging this culture as soon as a new member of staff is hired. You can do this by actively demonstrating how you treat your employees from a member of staff’s first day at the company and maintaining the same approach consistently.

You may be concerned that such a hands-on approach will prevent you from completing your other duties. However, there are ways to encourage new members of staff to be more engaged that don’t take up a lot of your own time. For instance, you could:

Make yourself available from day one –

Where possible, make sure you take part in new employees’ inductions. By being involved, enthusiastic, welcoming and genuine, you can show that each employee is more to you than just a number. You can then choose to follow this up by advertising an open door policy whereby employers are aware that you’ll assist with any concerns.

Offer to give new employees a guided tour of the premises –

As part of the induction, you could offer a guided tour of the premises to the new member of staff, where you can talk them through your company’s culture, learn more about them on a personal level and show yourself to be an approachable employer.

Ensure effective employee development processes are in place –

Employees are unlikely to feel motivated and committed to company goals if they don’t have the chance to progress and develop in their roles. By ensuring that effective personal development systems are in place right from the start of people’s employment, you can help your workers to feel a sense of purpose and direction.

Involve workers in discussions relating to their roles –

You could also look to involve them in discussions around key issues that relate to their role. By doing this, you can show that their view is valued, and it may even help when it comes to judging whether the employee is deserving of promotions and pay rises in the future.

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