The Key to Employee Engagement is You
Would you trust the care of your most beloved loved one to someone who didn’t like you very much? If you have disengaged employees you might be doing just that.
It is impossible for a disengaged employee to provide excellent customer service. It doesn’t matter how skilled the employee is, if they think of your business as the mere source of income, you/they won’t be wowing your customers.
Worse than that, those suffering from disengagement should be quarantined by the CDC as it is a highly infectious disease. One disengaged employee can make all of your employees reevaluate their level of happiness within your business. For this reason, employee engagement is one of the most important investments you can make in your company. The good news is, a lot of that is up to you.
If you have employees who are showing signs of being disengaged, don’t let it fester hoping it will go away. It won’t. It will spread. Before you even begin working on your company culture, tackle this problem head on. Talk with the individuals involved. See if you can’t come to an understanding of how you can both work on turning it around.
The one thing you don’t want is happy employees seeing disengaged employees sitting around doing the minimum with a lousy attitude and getting paid for it. Employees are not robots. No matter how many times you tell others to ignore your Eeyore in the corner, the bad feelings are bound to disrupt the working environment.
Some disengaged employees are too far gone. While you should give them the opportunity to turn it around, know that this is not always possible. In those cases, you need to help that employee begin the journey in finding what will light their fire.
Decide Who You Are and Communicate It
This idea is much easier if you start your business with a mission and you clearly convey it to everyone you hire. Your mission doesn’t have to be something as grand as ending world hunger. A mission can be as simple as being “Smithville’s favorite family ice cream shop.” Everything you do should focus on your business mission.
The importance of sharing your mission with your employees is that it becomes the basis for all decision making. If employees know and understand your mission, they can use it as a referral point asking themselves at each decision, “Is this inline with our mission?”
Hire for Fit
Next you need to hire in accordance to your mission and culture that you want to create. Skills can be taught easily, shaping one’s attitude to fit the culture is a lot more difficult. Keep in mind: each new hire either brings you closer to attaining the culture you want, or takes you further away from your goal. Don’t hire someone just to plug a hole in your payroll.
Give Them the Resources They Need and Get Out of the Way
Have you ever seen a poll about qualities you want in a manager? If so, maybe you’ve noticed the one thing that is never mentioned is “micromanaging.” No one wants to be spied on, told their way is wrong incessantly, or limited in their growth potential.
If you hire well and communicate expectations, goals and your mission, assuming your employees have the resources they need to succeed, they will begin to feel the company’s success is their success. To that end, use inclusive language like “we” when communicating where you want the business to go and how you’ll get there.
However, when giving specific direction or assignments forgo the “we.” No one knows who’s doing what when you talk in generic terms about specific roles like “We will check the Facebook page each morning.”
Check in Often
Giving employees the resources to perform their jobs isn’t your only role. You need to provide feedback often. You’ll find Millennials, in particular, are interested in guidance on their performance. It needn’t be a formal review process. Just a weekly or monthly check-in on how you think things are going but it should be a two-way conversation and not a monologue.
When someone exceeds your expectations, call attention to it immediately. Give examples of why this is ideal behavior. Don’t wait for an annual review to call it to everyone’s attention. It will get lost or forgotten by then.
Create a culture where peers can also give constructive feedback, especially praising one another. Receiving peer recognition helps in team building and building a cohesive team increases employee loyalty.
If you want your business to be successful, you need to have a team that can help you attain your goals. Investing in your employees and increasing their engagement level allows you to exceed your customers’ expectations and become a company that everyone wants to work for.
Image via Graphic Stock
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.