We can all remember a time when we felt disconnected from a team we were supposedly a part of–whether that time was back in middle school, or it’s here and now, at our current jobs. When we’re invested in the team and task, we are much more committed and willing to put in the time and effort to make sure it succeeds. So, why do we fail to make employees feel valued and important to the overall success of the team?
The key to accomplishing this is employee engagement, which, contrary to popular belief, is different than employee satisfaction. Employee engagement is “the extent to which people are personally involved in the success of a business,” while satisfaction simply emphasizes a person’s happiness or contentness with their job. Yes, you want employees who feel satisfied, but more importantly you want employees who value and care about the work they are doing and the company they associate themselves with. Now, I’m not going to lie and tell you that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to engaging employees, because there’s not! Each person, team, and company is unique, therefore we need to provide engagement solutions that are unique. To help you out, here’s a short list of musts to create an engaged team dynamic.
Communication is Key
Effective communication is more than frequent communication. You must choose your messages wisely in both content and frequency, as employees can get oversaturated and overwhelmed. Effective internal communication is many tiered: it’s a two-way street (make them part of the conversation–they will feel valued), it’s multi channeled (simply communicating via email is not enough), and it’s consistent (in both content and frequency). Combining these tiers is easier than you might think, because consumers are turning to one device more than any other–their mobile phones. By meeting your employees where they are already spending such a large portion of their time, you have the opportunity to make communication convenient and fun for all involved.
Have Short Term Goals that Support the Long Term Ones
Everyone wants to hit that big number at the end of the quarter, but sometimes those big-picture goals can be daunting. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to ditch the big goals entirely, but what if you split that goal up into smaller, weekly goals that eventually amount to the big goal? By motivating and activating each individual on a more consistent basis, you not only can achieve increased involvement from each employee, but also create a sense of personal accountability, which serves as a powerful tool in motivating your team to get that big goal crossed off your list. Work goal check-ins into your weekly team meetings, or send out a goals dashboard in a weekly email to keep your team informed on how they’re stacking up, and how far they have to go in order to hit that big number.
Be Confident and Trust
A vote of confidence goes a long way. Show your employees that you trust them to take ownership of their role in the company. By empowering your team members, you make them feel that their opinions matter–which in turn makes them feel valued, and motivates them further to do more than simply pull their weight. With more motivation and a sense of responsibility, they’ll be compelled to become a major contributor to achieving large team goals. To help achieve this, consider taking your mobile engagement beyond communication and creating a mechanism that gives your employee the opportunity to provide feedback–this will meet your employees where they are already responsive and active, while creating a mutually beneficial and results-driven interaction. It is important, however, to take criticism to heart–because pretending to care about their opinions is worse than never asking them at all.
Create a Culture
Culture is simply the work environment that you supply for your employees. When a person is looking at a potential new workplace, they are looking to find a place where their needs and values are satisfied. This is often accomplished by the culture created by the individuals within the organization. Each part of the organization brings unique aspects to the present culture, so it’s important that each new employee compliments what already exists. If people are happy waking up and coming into the office everyday, you’re likely to have an easier time engaging your employees and have a good time doing it. Take time to identify your shared values, and build your culture with that strong, value-based foundation.
So, Why Do We Care?
I know what you’re thinking–all of these things sound really nice, but I want some proof as to why putting this much time and effort into change is actually worth it. Well, having engaged employees is proven to benefit your bottom line in a number of ways. When an individual feels engaged in the work he or she is doing, they are: over 200 percent more productive, less likely to quit, better communicators, more willing to engage in discussions that can produce really productive thought, and more creative–which leads them to come up with new ways to complete daunting or tedious tasks and assignments.
The success of the entire company is contingent upon the success of each and every employee. By activating your team and making each and every person is invested in the overall success of the whole, you will create a work environment full of positive and successful individuals. So don’t wait– it’s time to engage your employees in new, creative, and convenient ways and see some major results.