For decades leadership has struggled to find effective ways to approach, connect with, and engage employees. But does it really need to be so hard?
We do not think so. In fact, we have narrowed it down to two key factors that are a surefire way for leadership to be able to effectively engage their employees, and it all starts with effective communication.
1. Communicate with Employees
Study after study has proven that communicating with employees is the number one way to keep them engaged and working productively for you. According to a recent Towers Watson study, 43 percent of employees who are considered to be “highly engaged” received feedback at least once per week. This is compared to 18 percent of employees with “low engagement.”
When leadership communicates with employees, your team knows that their idea has reached you. When you ask for feedback and ideas from your staff, you are showing that you are interested in what they have to say.
But in order to really engage your employees, you need to show them that their ideas are appreciated. By showing your employees in some way or form that their ideas and concerns have been heard—even if they are ultimately not accepted and implemented—they know that their feedback has been recognized and valued.
2. Change within the Business
Implementation is key. You are asking your employees to take the time to share ideas or ways to help shape or improve the business. Leadership needs to show their employees that they value the time they took to do so. This also includes ensuring that the best of these ideas are followed through.
Employees want to see positive change within an organization as much as leadership does. They have valuable insight as to how things can change from their level up. Having employees witness their ideas turn into real change is incredibly inspirational and is the best form of employee recognition possible.
Make your employees the catalyst for change. This is not only to make them “feel good” or productive in their work, but because they truly do have something valuable to offer. Remind yourself that your employees want feel as if they are an integral part of the business and that they want to contribute.
On the whole, engagement comes from encouragement, feedback, and support. See that the good ideas make it through to leaders, implement the good ideas whenever possible, and highlight the success of that individual in a way that they would appreciate (i.e. some individuals prefer public praise while others may prefer a personal note). The payoff for an employee offering and then having their idea go into action delivers a sense of pride and accomplishment that far extends any reward that can be offered by an organization. The payoff for an organization is an engaged employee with a vested interest in seeing that the organization continues to flourish and grow.