What is employee engagement and why is it important?
Keeping employees engaged can be a difficult task for most managers.
Failing to manage employee engagement you will find yourself without good reliable staff in no time.
Disengaged employees either leave for better ground or get dismissed for perceived poor performance.
Even the best employees cannot keep themselves engaged all the time and will need management guidance at some stage.
"What can I do to keep employees engaged?", is a question often asked by managers with no or little experience. The more experienced managers will pick up quickly when employees become disengaged and they will react.
Employee engagement can be seen as getting employees to enjoy what they do and they participate fully in achieving the overall vision of the organization.
This they do while bettering their own life and the skills they need to cope with business at the same time.
How do you build employee engagement?
To answer this question you will need to develop some new skills that will help you in the process of employee engagement.
Once you have gone through the pain of recruiting and appointing a new employee it will not help you to leave them to their own means.
The induction period is important and will play a major role in your strategy to keep an employee engaged
A good starting point will be to ensure that you know your organization and it's long-term goals better than anyone you have reporting to you.
It is important that as their leader you know why your employees are working for you and what are their needs.
This will be a good guideline on how you can keep them engaged. Look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as an inspiration to assess your employees.
- Ensure that the employees know their duties and responsibilities from the beginning. Uncertainty can be a good initiator of disengagement.
- Provide them with the tools and means to perform their work. This will create enjoyable working conditions without distraction.
- Set clear goals so all the employees know what they are working for.
- Ask and value employee input. It generates confident employees that feel appreciated.
- Praise good performance and celebrate achievements.
- Allocate tasks that will make employees keen to participate in and give them the opportunity to accept responsibility. Don't shoot down failures with a negative attitude but rather use it as an opportunity to coach your employees.
It does not mean what is good and acceptable for an employee today will be still acceptable one year from now.
What are the types of employee engagement?
There are basically three types of engagement in any organization so it is not difficult to identify what level the employee is operating at.
- Actively Engaged
- Actively Disengaged
- Not engaged
These employees will normally self motivate and complete their work to the best of their ability. They will provide a healthy and positive vibe to those that surround them.
Actively disengaged employees will do their work just to the point of not getting into trouble. They do not motivate themselves to do better or improve their current status without direct supervision or instruction.
They will, however, do their own work and follow the leader as they accept that as fate.
Not engaged employees are the moaners and groaners in the organization. The total lack of self-motivation is evident and they normally do their best to create a negative vibe in the workplace.
Their work output is also very low and normally sub-standard.
They do not participate in any team projects as they feel it is not their work to do so.
In other words, they are only there to collect their salary.
How do I keep track of employee needs?
If you are a good leader the team you drive will grow and their needs will change over time. Their success will impact on their needs. It's called common human nature.
Communication and performance feedback is the answer to keeping track of this.
When communicating with a person on a daily basis and by listening well you will be able to observe changes in their perception of needs.
Through regular performance appraisals, it will be noticed when an employee is moving up or down the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
It becomes more difficult when a person is content with their level of need and as a leader, you will have to work so much harder to keep such employees engaged.
Only leaders who communicate well with their employees will know when an employee becomes disengaged and will also know what the needs of the employee are.
Only disengaged leaders will have disengaged employees.