An engaged employee is a staff member who enjoys their work, is absorbed in the purpose of their organisation, and goes above and beyond to achieve goals and further the company’s interests. But employee engagement doesn’t just happen naturally - it requires investment from you as a manager. Employee engagement strategies are developed to ensure staff of all levels and teams are engaged in their work, and remain productive. Here’s how to develop a strategy for your organisation that really works.
Why is employee engagement so important?
Employee engagement makes a big difference to how you manage staff. Here are several reasons why you should aim to engage or improve the engagement of every employee at your organisation:
Engaged employees understand the context of their role
Those that are engaged with their work not only enjoy their jobs and work hard to achieve established company goals, but they understand intimately what their role is. They appreciate how it fits into the wider team and organisation, and what they need to do to both succeed and grow.
Engaged employees can be easier to manage
Employees who know and understand how their role fits into the bigger picture tend to be more independent, needing less guidance than staff who aren’t as aware of this. Additionally, trust usually develops more quickly between employers and engaged employees than with those who lack motivation and engagement.
Employee engagement promotes your organisation
Engaged employees serve as great brand ambassadors, and can actively boost the positive reputation of your organisation within the industry, improve relations with clients and make you an employer that the best candidates in the market want to work for.
How to engage staff at your organisation
Developing employee engagement strategies is important for all organisations, no matter whether they are big, small, or in industries as diverse as finance and IT.
There are many strategies you can use, but one of the most well-known is the 10 Cs of employee engagement. Mapped out by Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Gerard Seijts, and Doctoral student, Dan Crim, they provide a strong framework for improving staff motivation and job satisfaction. They are proven methods for giving employees greater independence and ownership over their work, ultimately making them more connected to your organisation:
To really give employees an incentive to care about your organisation and the work they do for it, you need to show them you value their work and opinions. Communicate with staff regularly to check on their welfare, invite feedback or implement changes that will make them happier at work.
Employees will feel engaged when they know there’s opportunities for them to grow and develop at the organisation. Good managers know how to offer employees challenges that are both ambitious and achievable. Make sure your career development opportunities are known to staff and easily accessed by them.
This is about communicating messages and direction clearly with your employees. Ensure that even the most junior staff member knows how their work contributes to large-scale successes and that they are valuable. Always invite staff to ask questions to ensure that all employees are on the same page.
Share commentary and observations constructively with your employees, creating opportunity for growth. Well-delivered constructive criticism gives employees the chance to improve their abilities and work styles. Feedback is both an important management skill and employee engagement tactic, so learning how to provide it tactfully will help both you and the members of your team.
Timely acknowledgments and praise of good work is a key part of employee engagement strategies. Celebrating the successes boosts staff morale and sometimes it’s a mere “thank-you” that has the biggest impact.
Employees engage when they know that their role has a direct impact on the success of the company. Share the efforts of individual staff members with the wider team and let them know the contributions they have made. A team member of the week or employee of the month celebration is a perfect way to let employees know that they make a difference.
Create opportunities for your employees to exercise control over their work style, pace and flow. This fosters trust in your employees and helps them develop a sense of ownership and accountability for their work. It’s a very important part of any employee engagement strategy.
Help your employees engage more deeply with their work by making them team players. Encourage regular collaboration, invite a range of voices and roles to participate in meetings and reward examples of positive teamwork.
Employees who know that their managers, leaders and the organisation more broadly uphold high ethical standards are likely to feel not just engaged, but committed to their work. This means exhibiting that you’re a credible organisation with both internal and external operations. For this element of employee engagement, consistency is key.
An important employee engagement strategy for many organisations is to develop capable and confident leaders. Employees want to know they are being led by managers who are self-assured and have a proven record of success. Exhibit confidence and dedication towards making your business the best it can be, and staff will be willing to work hard to help you achieve success.
While not all staff will need to work on each of the 10 Cs simultaneously, as a manager it’s important to know that each step plays an important part in making employees feel engaged, safe and supported at work. Employee engagement strategies will vary between organisations and industries, but what remains common is that a holistic approach and continual improvement is required. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, and always be open to changing your strategy to suit the needs of employees and the company more broadly.