For overworked business managers, the concept of employee engagement can seem like a waste of time and money, but it has significant effects on a business. In fact, research shows that disengaged employees miss work more often, burn out faster and report lower levels of job satisfaction. By finding ways to keep your employees engaged and happy, you can boost productivity, reduce turnover and create a more profitable business.
Offer Targeted Incentives
When it comes to employee engagement, one size does not fit all. Start your efforts off right by understanding your staff's motivations and establishing related incentives. Are staff members interested in a friendly office culture? Schedule parties and retreats to encourage stronger relationships between colleagues. Do they want to strike a solid work-life balance? Allow employees to work from home each Monday or Friday. This step is particularly important if you manage an age-diverse workforce; millennials who are just starting their careers may have different motivations than their experienced and settled baby-boomer counterparts.
Provide Opportunities for Advancement
In decades past, workers stayed with companies for many years, moving steadily up the corporate ladder. For modern workers, the idea of waiting three years for a new job title can feel stifling. To reduce turnover and increase employee engagement, consider adding intermediate job titles that come with a pay raise and increased responsibility. Then, create a transparent and objective promotion process that includes a series of achievable steps. In doing so, you can give workers the ability to take control of their careers and make measurable progress toward a goal. If this isn't feasible for your company, help employees develop their skills by encouraging cross-training, paying for professional development courses or providing time for employees to pursue personal passion projects.
Deal With Problems
Few things sabotage employee engagement faster than business managers who ignore known issues. Look out for patterns in employee complaints and comments, and take action to fix them. If one person's harsh communication style is antagonizing everyone on the team, sit down with that person and come up with ways to improve his interpersonal relations. If employees are slowed down by a bad Internet connection or old computers, call the Internet company or invest in new technology. When your hands are tied or the company simply doesn't have the budget, don't avoid the conversation — be honest and straightforward, and offer a temporary alternate solution. In the process, you can communicate respect and avoid a buildup of negativity.
Offer Feedback and Praise
Feedback enables employees to gauge their performance and identify new goals; it also lets workers know that you're paying attention and that you care about their professional progress. Boost employee engagement by offering a mix of formal and informal feedback. In addition to providing constructive criticism, don't forget to recognize your workers for a job well done. Implement a series of rewards and perks for excellent work; concert tickets, cash bonuses and occasional in-office massages all help employees feel appreciated. Don't underestimate the power of a simple "thank you" after a tough day or a meeting with a demanding client.
Employee engagement is an ongoing and dynamic process. By paying attention to your workers and offering incentives that match their needs, you can create a positive, engaging work environment.
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