“Just tell me what to do,” said the manager after looking at the employee engagement survey results for his department. We hear that a lot. Managers are busy and don’t have much time to read reports and create action plans. Some feel understandably lost when trying to engage their employees. Here are five quick wins—things you can do now that will have a considerable impact on engagement.
- Talk about the big picture. Many employees feel underwhelmed because they don’t find meaning in their work. Instead of focusing only on revenue quotas, make a connection between what employees do to the mission of the organization. Everything we do at DecisionWise plays off of our mission to “turn feedback into results.” Our entire team is made up of feedback evangelists, which makes working here more enjoyable—and more engaging.
- Leave people alone. Though employees do need some direction, don’t be a micromanager. Let people dictate certain elements of their work environment. One of our clients in the financial sector once commented that letting people choose how they perform their jobs isn’t feasible, what with all of the government red tape running rampant in the financial industry. Even if you’re in a highly regulated industry, employees can still exercise self-direction. Let them organize their workspaces in the most personally efficient ways. Let them recommend new processes that still meet all of the imposed regulations, but let them work more quickly, more profitably, or more enjoyably (it sure would be nice to achieve all three).
- Ask employees what they want to do. Recent DecisionWise research revealed that only 39 percent of hourly employees report receiving mentoring, counseling, or coaching in their careers, even though 70 percent of them see greater career opportunities in their organizations. Odds are the employees in your organization feel the same way. So, take time on a regular basis to meet one-on-one and ask employees where they want to go with their career. You might just find one of your employees has a really cool idea for a special project that would add new value to your company—leverage that powerful opportunity for an instant win-win.
- Recognize results. Just like a CEO looks for results from employees, employees look for results from their own work. If employees don’t feel like their actions are making a difference, they become discouraged, irritated, and ultimately disengaged. Take time to not only recognize the accomplishments of employees, but also describe how employees impact the overall success of the organization.
- Be friendly. Employees shouldn’t be afraid of their superiors. Managers can still maintain a professional relationship while being approachable, conversational, and overall nonthreatening. Our research shows that employees have to have good relationships with their coworkers and their manager(s) in order to be fully engaged.
This blog post was first published on the DecisionWise website. Reese is the Marketing Specialist at DecisionWise. His professional experience comes from working with the Organizational Leadership and Strategy department at Brigham Young University, the editorial team at brass|Media, Inc., and other teams in both for- and non-profit organizations. Follow him: @rshydn