This month, I’ve been writing about different aspects of proactive leadership. Proactive leadership is all about keeping your head up while taking care of the day to day aspects of your job. Proactive leadership is anything from keeping ahead of industry trends, to actively looking to identify and develop the talent in your organization. By being a proactive leader, you create a highly engaged workforce. There is a plethora of surveys to help you measure your team’s engagement. There are also tons of stats showing how engaged employees help your business. Today I am going to write about three ways you can help improve employee engagement in your organization.
Improve Employee Engagement
What is employee engagement? When I ask many leaders, they think that engagement is somewhere between how “happy” employees or some sort of satisfaction survey. I’ll tell you first hand, that happy employees are not always engaged employees, but engaged employees are happy employees.
In my book Maximizing The Human Potential I describe employee engagement as an emotional attachment to your job. When someone is engaged, they are more productive and less distracted. Here are some things to focus on to improve employee engagement in your organization.
The best leaders I ever worked with helped me become better at what I was doing. This goes for athletic coaches, mentors, and supervisors. The best leaders always helped me become better. Proactive leadership is all about raising the performance of your team. Elevate the performance of each member of a team and the entire team performance is elevated.
To elevate performance, leaders should be having regular feedback and coaching sessions. It’s not enough simply to tell an employee what they can be doing better. That can lead to resentment, confusion or frustration. Leader not only tell someone how they can improve, but show them as well. Offer suggestions to improve productivity or customer service. If you don’t know, work with your team to find solutions that can show improvements.
Believe it or not, your people like to be held accountable. Holding them accountable for doing their job is a sure-fire sign that their job is important. Accountability actually leads people to strive to do better. It isn’t necessarily the fear of being held accountable that motivates someone to succeeded. Success builds confidence and momentum. People genuinely like to be successful and it makes them feel good. We can all appreciate this, as we’ve all had days that were successful and others that just went down the drain. Which one makes you feel better at the end of the day?
Holding people accountable means, you, as the leader, need to hold yourself accountable. Hold regular meetings, or whatever form you use for accountability and stick to it. If you ask someone to finish a project by the end of the month, and wait until the end of the month to check for status, don’t be surprised when your team member lets you down. They let you down, because you didn’t tell them the project was important. Therefore, develop a schedule and a system for accountability, follow it, and watch your engagement sore.
Lastly, we all want our employees to be loyal. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of my readers will think that they have the most loyal employees. You’d be surprised. Loyalty is different than your team liking you, or liking the company. I read an article the other day saying that 80% of employees will start looking for a job after just ONE BAD DAY. So, unless you have the 20% of the workforce that will stay with you through a bad day (or month or quarter…) loyalty isn’t that easy to come by.
I have worked with companies where there is an us versus them mentality. Typically, it is employees versus management, but not always. Other examples would be one department versus another department or even worse, one click versus another click.
I have found that the best way to foster loyalty in the workplace is to show loyalty to your employees. Leaders become part of the team and are not positioned above it. Each case is different, but here are some ways you can build loyalty in your organizations:
- When overtime is required, stay as late or come in on Saturday with them (and buy lunch)
- Offer help, guidance and solution when a problem arises
- Trust their expertise. It doesn’t have to be your way, they can be right too.
- Get to know them on a personal level. People are more loyal to a friend than a colleague.
This Week’s Challenge
In conclusion, enhance your proactive management skills by focusing on these three areas – performance, accountability and loyalty. Even if you already have a loyal staff, and are doing these actions, give them a little extra effort. There is always room to improve employee engagement.
If you would like to discuss more ways to help your business grow or if you feel you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, please reach out to me.