“To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” —Douglas Conant,
To be perfectly honest, proactive employee engagement is the only genuine employee engagement. Creating an engaging workplace never just happens –it takes intentional choices. As Conant, who has led three major companies from a shaky spot to thriving, points out, your business success will only do as well as your employee engagement. Nurturing and growing your employees is a pillar of business leadership.
Building Employee Engagement
Lay a firm foundation –It begins with the owner, president, and C-suite.
- Establish your company’s core values, mission, and purpose. Then, determine the best way to “live” those values as a business while fulfilling your purpose and mission.
- Commit to and foster a culture of peer-to-peer respect. In other words, respect and honor people because they are people – regardless of position. Encourage diversity of thought, personality, and work styles.
- Create a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It isn’t a numbers game – it’s recognizing the beauty and value of differences and capitalizing on how they work together for the greater good.
Develop your management team
- Train your managers to manage and empower them to coach. Coaching gets the employees they supervise involved in the process.
- Ensure your managers foster an environment that supports learning and creativity –recognizing that even failed ideas result in growth.
- Effective managers are change agents rather than just advisors. Encourage them to stretch employees via challenging assignments and allowing employees to be part of solutions, rather than just giving them answers.
Excel in communication –open-door, two-way communication
- It begins with how you greet your employees—taking time to stop a few minutes and chat. Ask them about their families and life outside of work. It shows that you care.
- Create an open, transparent feedback loop. Ensure your employees are never afraid of bringing something to light.
- Keep your employees in the know. Provide the information they need to do their job well.
Value your employees
- Give meaning to their work. Ensure that each employee has a clear understanding of how they fit in the big picture and the value of the work they do.
- Build on their strengths. If they would fit better in a different position, offer them the option of changing. Provide growth opportunities –ways to level up their skills and earn promotions.
- Encourage employee development. From on-the-job training, company-sponsored webinars to assistance with continued education, investing in your employees is investing in your business.
Recognize and reward success
- Give gifts and awards when appropriate. Sometimes it might be for a one-time well-handled project, but don’t forget to acknowledge consistent diligence in the everyday run of things. Matching gifts to an employee’s interests and lifestyles reverberates that they matter.
- When a department or the entire business completes a project or attains a milestone, ensure that everyone gets their share of the credit.
Employee engagement is the bedrock of a productive, happy workplace. Prioritizing engagement strategies and nurturing, appreciating, and building your team creates a thriving business.