Building Employee Engagement: What You Need to Know

When studies show 53% of American employees report being actively dissatisfied and disconnected from their work on a daily basis, maintaining and indeed, fostering a full staff of engaged and productive workers may seem a pipe dream. After all, beyond more salary or benefits, what else can you do to keep people satisfied, let alone make them happier? Surely a weekend seminar doing trust falls in the conference room isn’t going to make anything that much better.

We beg to differ. There are many steps any Leader can take to build and boost employee satisfaction and performance, right now. And to ignore regular opportunities to do so is at your own peril.

It comes down to the definition of the word “engagement”. As a popular term in the modern American workplace, its meaning sometimes gets lost in the synergy of dynamic human to human interactions in the hallways, and revisiting those conversations is rare. Let’s put a pin in the buzzwords and get real. Employee engagement translates into these basic questions:

How do your employees feel about the work they do every day?

Do they feel valued? Do they feel in turn that they add something of value to the organization? These are critically important questions, and the real meaning behind the catchphrase. When we talk about boosting employee engagement, we’re talking about making your employees feel valued, while at the same time encouraging them to add value to their work every single day. So how do you get started?

Surprisingly, money has little to do with it. Unhappy, dissatisfied employees are found on both ends of the pay scale and within all levels of organizational hierarchies. An organization someone feels proud to be a part of can expect loyal, hardworking employees at all levels. And that takes effort on the part of Leadership. Make people feel important and let them know their day to day tasks impact the company…and you have more than just staffers. You have a team.

It begins with inspiration.

Are you inspiring your staff through regular, positive and public feedback on their accomplishments? Have you created real paths for your employees to build a future with your company? Are you building a culture of personal support and encouragement? Are you providing real time, consistent, professional feedback?

If you feel that some of these practices are not a staple in your work environment, here are some starting points to build upon:

  • Reward the teammates in the workplace whose demeanor and behavior encourage engagement. Recognize these “power communicators”
  • Maintain opportunities and healthy venues for open dialogue between management and employees.  Schedule regular Huddles with your team and One-on-Ones with individuals and KEEP the time on the calendar.  Show employees their time and development is important.
  • Delegate!  It’s not about passing the buck or getting tasks off of your plate.  Rather, it is about empowering your employees to contribute more and engage at a new level.

The good news is that you and your team can learn how to create an atmosphere of engagement and satisfaction almost immediately!  And it doesn’t involve catching coworkers in trust falls or passing out raises. If you simply create inspiration within your team, you are driving engagement!