Getting employees to be engaged in their work can feel a lot like herding cats if approached in the wrong way. Some executives make the mistake of putting the blame for disengagement on the employees. If they don’t give 110% at work and show loyalty to the company, they must just be lazy people who don’t know the value of work, right?
There are always exceptions, but for the most part, people want to do good work they can be proud of. They want to have engaging careers they’re challenged by, and that give them a sense of contributing to some sort of greater good.
When employee engagement is low, the first place to look for potential causes is the employee’s manager, company structure and culture. If people in leadership aren’t stepping up as a group to train, motivate, empower, and promote, employee disengagement will be inevitable.
If you’re looking for ways to make your team members more engaged, start with yourself. What can you do to make the work lives of your employees more fulfilling, exciting, and – ultimately – engaging? Here are three tips to get you started:
- Communicate regularly and honestly
Learning what employees need starts with a simple question. Take the time to meet with each of your team members to learn what they want out of their work and what they aren’t currently getting. Maybe one employee is interested in learning a new skill and another wants to contribute more creatively. Whatever the case may be, be open to hearing problems and work together to find solutions. But don’t end the conversation there. Check in regularly, and work to establish trust and an open-door policy.
- Hand over the reins whenever possible
People feel more engaged in their work when they feel a sense of ownership. Whenever a new project or deadline comes up, don’t think of it simply as your task but the task of your team. Give ownership of specific tasks over to team members whenever possible and appropriate, and do your best to offer the appropriate level of coaching – a hands-on approach for less experienced employees and more of a mentorship role for experienced ones.
- Offer feedback and praise
If you notice that someone hasn’t been performing at their usual levels, check in with them. Rather than just letting the problem get worse and then letting them go, give them a chance to explain what might be going on without judgement, and work together to solve the problem. Show that you care and that you want your employee to succeed.
Likewise, don’t let good work go unnoticed. Show your gratitude for a job well-done, and offer recognition in the form of incentives, promotions, or raises. Make sure your employee understands how their work contributes to the larger goals of the company.
Level Up Leadership will be offering multiple seminars over the coming months focused on motivational leadership. Optimal Motivation is a one-day program being held on October 25, 2018. Management Essentials is a one-day program held on November 29, 2018. SLII Immersion will be held January 10 and January 17, 2019 with five subsequent virtual sessions held between January 24 and February 21. All workshops will be here in Central Raleigh, NC. To learn more or sign up, visit www.levelupleadership.com.