Let me be the first to acknowledge that building and maintaining employee engagement at firms and other organizations takes work. However, the potential rewards (better job performance; major cost savings from lower burnout and turnover rates; higher levels of employee productivity, creativity, and happiness; and higher-quality work product to your clients) are well worth it!
I’m a big proponent of moving forward intentionally and constructively so here are 5 concrete ideas to get you started!
Convey your commitment to prioritize employee engagement to all staff members. Even just saying something out loud increases the chances of success because it sets your intention and creates an accountability mechanism.
Gather a small group of employees who represent a cross-section of staff to work together to build a vision and work toward it. (Keep in mind that studies have shown that committees of more than 5 people tend to be less productive; if more than 5 people want to be involved, consider having different groups work on different aspects of boosting employee engagement.) Simply by doing this, you have empowered a subset of the staff – thereby increasing their potential for engagement – and planted seeds for a more engaged community to grow organically!
Invest in employees by talking to them about how they are doing, what their aspirations are, how they would like to contribute to the organization in perhaps new and different ways. Then consider what can be done to support employee growth based on this information gathering! For example, if they feel that their creativity is being sapped, ask them if there are new and different ways they would like to contribute to the organization and help them make the change(s) needed. If they need support with goal-setting, work with them to set SMART goals. Show that you care about employee contributions, and their personal and professional growth by providing ongoing and leadership training opportunities that staff need and want!
Find out from staff what structural or institutional issues within the organization cause them the greatest amount of stress or anxiety. Collaborate with them to problem-solve around increasing efficiency and decreasing unnecessary frustrations. By doing this, you are sending a clear signal that you value and respect workers’ time, effort, and opinions.
Recognize significant accomplishments and contributions of employees (especially when the work is difficult, taxing, or draining) becomes even more important in maintaining a feeling of being appreciated and decreasing chances of disengagement, burnout, and attrition. Providing perks and benefits can also go a long way, but communicating that you value their contribution and showing that you appreciate their unique talents is actually more effective in boosting engagement.
You might have noticed an overarching theme in these action steps: relationship building. That’s not a coincidence. On a fundamental level, developing work relationships built on trust and caring can go a long, long way in improving employee engagement and the overall culture in an organization.
Why not give some of these steps a try and let us know how it goes? We’re here to support you.