As far back as the 1940s when Maslow penned his Hierarchy of Needs theory, it’s been apparent that there is a lot more to staff motivation than simply rewarding your top performers. That’s when the idea of employee engagement came onto the scene.
Employee engagement is similar to employee motivation but takes the concept to a deeper level. Engaged employees are loyal, proud and committed to their organization. They treat the organization as if they are owners and find fulfillment in working hard. Its been shown that if an employee is engaged, they will be motivated to perform to their highest potential without the need for a reward.
So how do you know if your staff are engaged? How do you measure this? The most effective way to measure this is through an employee engagement survey. There are a number of solutions out there that allow you to measure this and track engagement across time, however more importantly is using a solution that highlights the areas of the employee experience that are most important to your staff, shows how you are performing in these areas and provides actionable strategies to take corrective action if required.
Through my experience working with companies across the globe that have utilized my companies employee insight solution, we see time and time again a few key areas that a lot of companies are falling short on in employee engagement. Here's our top 5.
1. Feedback – Why wait for the end of the year performance review to provide feedback? By the time managers come to the end of year review, they have normally forgotten the key pieces of feedback their staff actually required. We suggest weekly or bi-weekly reviews so constructive feedback can be provided in real-time.
2. Acknowledgement - When a member of your staff has performed a task well acknowledge them for this. A lot of managers have the belief that recognition isn’t required for someone that is just simply doing their job; follow this mindset at your peril. Recognizing a behavior today will encourage the employee to take the same initiative in the future.
3. Manage Expectations – Do your staff know what you expect from them? Do you know what your staff expect from you? Provide clear goals to you staff. Ensure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals and you have a method for assessing performance against these goals. Hold regular review sessions with staff to review progress and ensure you are providing feedback on any commitments you have made.
4. Partnering – Collaborative working relationships allow skill, knowledge and ability to be combined to achieve goals that may not have been attained otherwise. Working in a partnership allows the individuals to bounce ideas around and provide ongoing feedback to each other, resulting in continuous self-improvement and increased productivity.
5. Trust – The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it perfectly "He who does not trust enough will not be trusted". Trust runs both ways, when an employee feels trusted by management and other staff they also will reciprocate. A member of staff that feels trusted will also feel respected and will be open to share information and resources with other staff members. To build trust as a manager you need to ensure transparency within the organization, ensure you protect your staff when they need you to and always honor commitments.
Author: Ian Jones is responsible for Business Development at Rubato Insights, living and working in New York. Ian is a problem solver, focused on assisting organizations with continuously improving the client/employee experience they offer. When not working, Ian can be found traveling, cooking and frequenting the bars of New York City.