What can you, as a manager, do to boost employee engagement numbers?
A lot, as it happens. Your skills as a manager can make your team more engaged than ever before, or they could take them the other direction, into low engagement or active disengagement. A skilled manager will communicate as often as he or she can with his or her employees, and even get to know them on a more personal level. A great manager makes expectations clear, and encourages employees to capitalize on their natural talents.
You should be communicating with your team members every day if you want to drive engagement. The more often you communicate with your employees, the more engaged they’ll feel. Use multiple channels of communication to maintain connections with your employees. Make it a point to communicate by phone, text, email, or video chat every day. Employees feel the most engaged when their managers are in close communication with them.
You need to be available to your subordinates, too. When they reach out to you with questions, concerns, ideas, or anything else, respond to them in a timely manner. Make a point of discussing your employees’ projects and tasks – employees are more engaged when their managers take an interest in their work.
Get to Know Your Employees
You want to cultivate a sense of safety in your employees, so they’ll feel less threatened by suggesting new ideas and because you need to create a safe space in which your team can support one another. Take the time to get to know your employees. Great managers inspire employees to feel comfortable talking about anything, whether or not it’s to do with work. Taking an interest in the lives of your employees outside of the office will show that you care about them and are invested in them as people – they’ll be more loyal to the company and engaged with their work as a result.
Make Expectations Clear
The number one thing employees need to perform well is clear goals and expectations. You can’t do your job well if you don’t know exactly what that entails. Employees who don’t know what is expected of them in the workplace could grow disillusioned and disconnected from the company, and could react to performance management attempts with frustration.
Don’t just expect employees to refer to their job descriptions to understand their roles. You need to help them understand the expectations you have for each one of their roles. You need to help them set actionable performance goals and professional development plans.
Keep lines of communication regarding performance open with your employees. Speak to them regularly about their performance and how they’re progressing toward their goals. You can use a performance management tool like the ones from Workhuman to organize employee performance data, communicate with team members, and give employees access to their metrics and performance feedback whenever they want.
Encourage Employees to Capitalize on Their Strengths
If you want to encourage someone to improve their performance, you’d be much better off encouraging that person to build on his or her strengths, rather than harping on his or her inadequacies. It’s much easier to start any task from a position of strength. Talk to your employees about what skills and competencies they feel strongest in and how they can use those competencies to form new processes and excel at their job duties.
It won’t do to assume that your employees are already all familiar with their own strengths. Each of your employees will likely have strengths they’re unaware of, just as they may have weaknesses they’re unaware of. Have regular conversations with your employees about their strengths. Talk to them about bringing those strengths to the forefront of their roles – brainstorm strategies that employees can use to bring their natural talents to bear on their job duties. A company culture that focuses on strengths will offer an environment in which employees learn faster, are more engaged, stay in their roles longer, and produce better work in higher volumes.
As a manager, you have the power to make your employees feel engaged and challenged at work – if you have the managerial skills to foster an atmosphere of open communication and a strengths-based culture for your team and company. Take the lead and show your employees what it means to be truly invested in meaningful work.