As we enter an age where employee engagement is emerging as one of the top drivers of business growth, the ‘why’ of engagement has become quite clear. What’s still a mystery though is the ‘how’.
Though there is no consensus on a standard definition of employee engagement, it is safe to say that most CEOs, at the very least, understand its essence and how impactful it can be. The problem though, lies in the execution.
The year on year increase in engagement has been abysmal even though there are several metrics today to gauge employee motivation and loyalty. So, how does one drive engagement in an environment where a majority of the employees have a transactional attitude towards work?
Working with clients across industries over the last several years, I have broken down the process of driving engagement to five basic steps. They are tried and tested and have managed to provide my clients with proven results.
Step #1: Sell your strategy (Don’t just tell it)
Engagement comes from involvement. Yes, your staff are paid to do their jobs but the whole point of getting employees to engage is to encourage them to look beyond basic job expectations. When you successfully sell your strategy, your employees buy into the larger vision of the company allowing them to become a part of the greater purpose. Engagement happens when there is a change in attitude from doing what’s required to doing what it takes.
Step #2: Encourage healthy competition
There is a reason why gamification has become as big as it has. Competition builds camaraderie and motivates people to deliver more than they otherwise would. By encouraging teams to compete on certain set parameters, work can be made more exciting and rewarding. However, you must be careful not to make things too serious which might result in employees cheating their way to victory. The goal is to imbibe a competitive spirit rather than pushing to win.
Step #3: Always provide necessary training/support
The sales target just increased? A new assignment on the horizon? Before assigning any new tasks to your employees, first try and understand if they have the necessary skills and training to complete those tasks. When employees are given the necessary support to help them fulfill their responsibilities, they feel more confident and positive about taking on new challenges.
Step #4: Recognize people at all levels
Lack of recognition is one of the most common issues raised by employees during engagement surveys. Most organisations have a rewards and recognition plan for top performers but that hardly covers 5% of the total staff. What about the rest? It’s important to recognize not only the top performers but also the most improved, regardless of employee level.
Step #5: Make it fun
Engagement is the result of having a positive emotional connection with your work. You can’t force someone to feel a certain way but you sure can create an environment that brings out positive emotions. So take the effort to add some fun to your mix of engagement efforts. It can go a long way in making the workplace a great place to come to every day.
The five steps listed above may look quite simple but they have helped me achieve some amazing results for my clients. With one particular client, I was able to push sales from 15,000 units to 115,000 units by getting employees more engaged. With another, we were able to achieve a 500% increase in sales.
If you’re looking for ways to get your employees engaged and drive business growth, you can directly click the link below to get your free eBook.