Struggling To Keep Employees Engaged? Here Are 5 Tips To Help

by Feb 28, 2020

If you think about all of the qualities that embody your most productive employees, you’d likely consider them to be passionate, motivated, and hardworking people. What you might not be aware of is that there’s a buzzword in the business world for these types of employees: they’re “engaged.” But not “about-to-get-married” engaged, as we might typically derive from that word. Rather, they’re engaged with their work and the goals of your company.

It should come as no surprise that these types of employees tend to be favored by organizations. A recent study by Gallup, showed that engaged employees:

  • Were 21 percent more productive
  • Experienced 59 less turnover
  • Achieved 22 percent higher profits

And it doesn’t end there. Engaged workers were also the ones who were taking fewer sick days, were better at customer service, and improving workplace safety. With so many benefits, it’s a wonder why more organizations don’t make regular efforts to increase employee engagement. Well, they might, but it’s not as easy as hosting a happy hour every now and then. If you’re looking to really make an impact, here are 5 proven methods you can use to boost engagement.

Define Engagement

In order to measure employee engagement, it’s important to understand what it is exactly. Kevin Kruse, author of Great Leaders Have No Rules, defines employee engagement as “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” This is different from employee satisfaction and happiness, but it doesn’t discount them as being core components to an engaged employee. It goes beyond that. Engaged workers work through moments of dissatisfaction and unhappiness to help your organization achieve its goals, as this ultimately is what provides them with fulfillment. Once you understand what employee engagement is and what it’s not, it will be much easier to gain practical insights from your workers.

Get Regular Feedback

It’s impossible to understand what your employees think without asking them. However, it’s not always as easy as going up to them and requesting that they share their honest opinions with you. Even your most transparent workers are likely to withhold information from you if they suspect you won’t like the answer. Instead, try to gain honest feedback from employees through regular, anonymous surveys. You can always create and administer these yourself, however, we find that employees are more responsive when they know their feedback is going to an outside party (Hint* we can help!). Also, it’s important to design your survey to asses the specific issues you are experiencing in your workplace, rather than using a blanket survey that any ol’ organization could use.

Appoint the Right Leadership

Great managers inspire great workers. What makes managers excellent ‘engagers’ is their ability to ignite important conversations with their teams, retrieve opinions and ideas from their workers, and acknowledge valuable employee contributions. Great managers actively seek to understand each employee’s strengths and do their best to allocate them to positions where they’d excel. Doing this helps make sure you’re getting the best out of your workers and that workers are satisfied with what they are assigned.

Prioritize Meaningful Work

Let’s face it, no one wants to come into work only to perform mindless tasks for hours on end. A study done by Automation Anywhere, a leader in RPA technology, found that workers spend more than 40 percent of their day performing repetitive computer tasks that aren’t a part of their primary job. This is time that could be spent on higher-priority work that employees find more engaging. To make better use of your employees’ time and to increase the likelihood that they are engaged with their work, consider what elements of their job roles can be left to automated business technology. Even relieving an employee of a single responsibility is bound to make a difference.

Hire for Culture

Experience and education might make someone qualified for a job role, but they don’t guarantee performance—especially if their attitude and values aren’t in alignment with that of your company. You can make significant improvements in the likelihood that future employees will be engaged by hiring for culture. This means hiring individuals based on a perceived ‘behavioral fit’ at your organization, in addition to the usual criteria you currently use to hire new employees. By hiring and promoting the right behaviors, you’re helping to ensure that your culture stays intact and that the employees you hire are engaged from day one.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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