Employee engagement seems to be the buzz word when we talk about employees. Not so surprising when you think about reducing cost and increasing output in your organization.
Recent Gallup research shows that organizations with high employee engagement have 12% higher customer satisfaction and 16% higher profitability. And with a reduction of 49% of turnover and 37% lower absenteeism you can almost send your HR manager home!
This is why employee engagement is our key focus for helping small businesses. But how do you get and keep employees engaged?
1. Start the conversation.
The most overlooked action step is communicating the vision to employees. When you as a business owner or a manager take the time to share your thoughts and listen to their ideas, you will see that employees have something interesting to say. When there is a conversation (which is a two way communication) you can engage them in your business and they will in return help the business grow. Employees are willing to work hard for the company, when they understand in what direction it wants to go. Share the direction and your knowledge, and they will follow.
2. Create a mutual vision.
It is not enough when employees understand which direction the organization needs to go. They also need to buy in to this vision. When working with employees to engage them in the vision, ask them how they see the future. Questions you can ask are, what they would change, what would they see as success and what are the benefits of the changes to the organization? You might need to give them some help by providing information such as financial information to help them calculate the savings or the extra profit.
3. Determine goals.
When the mutual vision is established, it is time to create a goal that everybody is excited to work toward. When creating the vision, a goal that will engage employees needs to be aligned, but also achievable. Reaching the top of Mount Everest is a really cool goal, but if you have never climbed even a tiny hill, this goal will take years to reach. When setting goals, think small. Make sure that the first goal is achievable and focuses on behavioral change, this will support a sustainable change.
With a goal comes an implementation plan. Who is going to follow-up on tasks and report back the results. When an employee is assigned the task for the follow-up, they will feel responsible for the project. You as a manager now have to coach and support this employee which is a much more fun assignment than pulling a cart when nobody is engaged.