Every leader understands that developing an engaged workforce is a key investment for their organisation.
Yet, many know that building organisations where employee engagement is strongly embedded at the core of the workforce strategy is easier said than done. Helping employees feel engaged and connected with the workplace and creating environments that inspire celebration of work takes time, patience and practice. It’s about ensuring consistency and alignment in people practices as observed across HR and business teams, and importantly driving a spirit of support, camaraderie and collaborativeness across the organisation.
So, what are some of the most effective ways to secure employee engagement in the organisation? What can business and HR leaders do to ensure employees feel joyful and energised as they walk into the workplace every day? And how can we ensure the right HR practices are embedded into the everyday employee experience?
Here are some quick and simple steps to effectively drive engagement and increase energy at the workplace –
1. Connect is key
We ideally would like our employees to walk into work every day knowing that they are here to shape and deliver ideas that matter, make things happen, set tough goals, exceed expectations and deliver value. However, aside from setting tough goals and working hard to achieve them, employees also value the opportunities for connect and relationships that their workplace offers them.
Employees feel great at work, when they know they are amidst friends and co-workers who care enough to see them succeed and win. So it is essential that team structures and work groups encourage friendship and foster productive work relationships. These have a direct influence on employee commitment and productivity, and enable teams to care immensely for shared visions and goals at work.
Co-worker commitment is known to be high in organisations that drive programmes such as Buddies at Work, employee mentoring and cross-functional projects, as they allow information exchange, counsel and support in friendly and informal settings. Employees do not feel threatened when they receive any negative feedback and are quick to seek help to improve their performance.
2. Foster communication and support
Communication is key in group employee settings – systems that aid transparency, information flow and feedback are important tools in cultivating strong employee engagement practices.
When managers communicate openly with their teams, and share and seek feedback regularly, they enable their employees to be open and receptive to ideas and suggestion, and foster positive work discussions. This is a great way to make employees feel valued and supported, and convey to them that their thoughts and ideas matter. In the long run, these help drive trust and commitment in the workplace, as well as embed a culture that is agile, nimble and always listening – a key ingredient in building an engaged workforce.
3. Drive ownership
When employees are given ownership of initiatives they take pride in the responsibilities given to them and demonstrate greater accountability. As a result, they also experience increased autonomy and ownership and perform the tasks given to them at a higher level of effectiveness.
While creating challenging work opportunities for their teams, it helps for managers to drive autonomy and empower teams with greater decision making – it would even be alright to allow for some inexpensive and non-crucial mistakes, as early mistakes help teams to gain quick lessons, and learn effectively on strategies and ideas that really work.
Overall encouraging teams to take on increased responsibilities and ownership, helps expand their knowledge, deepen skills and expertise, and drive up overall capability. These factors ensure increased performance levels and enhance growth opportunities for teams – making them feel stronger and better at doing what they do.
4. Trust and respect – always count
Needless to mention, trust and respect always count in team settings and form the basis for a strong and well engaged workforce. When managers foster values of trust, respect and dignity at the workplace, they enable supportive and collaborative behavior within their teams. Managers foster these values by investing in their teams at a personal level and demonstrate that they value their employees for who they really are.
These actions benefit employees greatly – with the belief that their managers care for them and would stick around or care enough to hold their back in tough situations,, they feel empowered to pursue goals with purpose and deliver a meaningful difference for the organisation.
5. Foster a culture of celebration
Finally, employees get to work every day, so, why not create some joy and celebration at the workplace? When joyful and energised, employees deliver their best work – with great responsibility, enthusiasm and ownership.
Be it celebrating personal events, team performance or group level accomplishments – all these events count and help to make employees feel that work can be as much about fun and energy, as it is about goals and focus.