People Management Skills

Improve Employee Engagement for High Performance

As follow up to my previous entry on the why employee engagement is so important, I’m sure Managers can appreciate why they should improve employee engagement.  But you may be wondering “where do I start”?  It can be quite a complex topic, and so much depends on your organizations culture and strategy.  It really should be considered in your regular organizational performance planning and management .  But here are  few quick and easy tips to get you started.

Simple tips to improve employee engagement:

Communicate

Keep employees up to date on things that affect them.  Be sure to communicate with employees regularly, using a variety of methods.  For example, messages can be delivered in person, newsletters, meetings, announcement….  We always tend to think people know what’s happening and don’t need to be told.  But I have found that assumption to be wrong.  People want information.

Listen

Everybody wants to be heard.  Listening conveys that we value the other persons needs.  So be sure to find ways of getting feedback from your employees.  Again, through a variety of methods and do it often.  Surveys are a good way to keep the pulse on what’s happening in larger organizations.  But be sure to follow up, confirm what you heard and identify what (if anything) you plan to do with the information.

Show appreciation

Making people feel that their work is recognized and valued goes a long way to improve employee engagement.  People will often be willing to stay with an employer that appreciates them, even when they are offered better perks elsewhere. It doesn’t always have to be a big awards ceremony or bonus (although those are appropriate in some cases).  But sometimes, a simple and heart felt thank you, or pizza on Fridays can be effective too.  Recognize that individuals have different preferences.  Some like the public recognition, while others prefer a private thank you.

Get them involved

Connecting people with other aspects of the organization, or taking more responsibility can make their jobs more interesting.  And it can show that you trust them to do more.  So perhaps you can open up to let employees take the lead on high profile initiatives.  Whether it’s an actual work assignment, or volunteering to set up community volunteer projects, this give people an expanded sense of personal power.  Of course, you do need to be sure that the person has the right skills.  And that you aren’t breaking any rules or protocols.  But be creative in looking for ways to get your employees more involved.

Build on it

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, you should consider how to improve employee engagement as part of your business unit plan.  And incorporate it into individual employee performance plans.  Having those discussions and involving your employees in the planning creates engagement.  And it helps you understand what motivates each individual.

So if you are not yet using performance planning and management (including employee performance planning), it would be timely to get some training.  While I recommend starting with the broader performance planning and management framework, I have broken my courses into two modules.  For those that urgently want to learn how to improve employee performance, you can take it as a stand alone course.

The most important thing is to just get started.  Even if all you can afford at the moment is a thank you and a cup of coffee for your employees, that can go a long way.  Just be sure to expand your efforts as your capacity grows to keep your employee engagement high.

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