I find that managers, CEO’s, directors and anyone in a leadership role at organizations have a hard time engaging employees, mainly because they don’t think it through and just mandate new policies without getting buy-in.
Engagement is not about making your employees happy, about the pool tables, the pizza lunches and the massages. It is about making them productive by being excited to work for you, so they go above and beyond to be innovative and creative and achieve the goals of the organization. Some managers are just natural engagers…they communicate well, are genuinely interested in teamwork and involving the group and do not micro-manage. Other leaders have great difficulty with this concept even to the point of challenging me when I tell them to say “Good Morning” to their staff.
Think about how you like to be treated and treat the employees the same way.
Engagement is subtle, not really tangible or visible like the perks we offer. It therefore takes a lot more work to indulge in this concept. How well do you know your employees? Have you sat down at regular intervals to not only discuss work but their dreams, goals, interests, abilities and preferences? Do you know them well enough to assign tasks that will enhance their skills and knowledge and help them grow?
I find many companies, when they realize that the employees really don’t care., decide to reorganize. Duh!! They are going to move people around or even get rid of some and that will solve the problem. This is treating the symptom, not the problem.
If you genuinely want to engage your staff follow these principles:
- Obtain buy-in for everything you do, from strategic planning to perks.
- Stop micro- managing because you need control. Offer responsibility, autonomy and accountability to your group and help them with collaboration. Be there to tweak and reward as they succeed, to remove obstacles and to offer resources and support.
- Give them time. Understand that everyone works differently and do not expect uniform results or timelines. Use the opportunity to pair up individuals who can assist each other.
- Listen and communicate regularly. I mean really listen…it’s not about you…it is about them and the better they produce the better you will look. Make sure you are available at regular intervals and put aside everything to be “in the moment.” Offer as much information as you can regarding the company so everyone feels on board. Be transparent.
- Give them tools and information to make the proper choices. Don’t be cheap or hold back when something like a new printer can make all the difference.
- Provide training and growth opportunities that relate to their own needs. Learn what motivates your staff so that you can give them prospects that will enhance their opportunities and skills. Seek out creative ways to enhance the learning process, both professionally and personally. Offer a set amount of money for any type of training that they not only require, but would like to take. Enhance their work-life balance so they happily come to work ready to be part of your culture.
It is so much easier to be proactive in the engagement process so you don’t have to pick up the pieces, wonder why things are going south and decide to reorganize….again.
How do you handle motivation in your organization?