What surprised me after my seminar for Small and Medium Business owners and managers was the interest of managers in engaged employees. I highlighted the difference between engaged and non engaged employees and I could see the reaction of managers in the room to engaged employees. How can we get them, how can we create them? Let me explain first what engaged employees are.
An engaged employee is one who is fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work and thus will act in a way that furthers their organisations interest. Engaged employees are likely to have less sick days and come to work energised and focused. 84% of engaged employees believe they can positively impact the quality of the organisation’s products. However on average only 29% of the workforce are engaged with their work. 54% of the employees are not engaged with their work. Of course these figures can be influenced by companies through their manager’s behaviour and their company policies. But remember if you create a workforce of which 50% is engaged then you are doing extremely well as a company.
This brings us back to the question managers had in the seminar how do we create engaged employees? There are several things managers can do to create engaged employees. First of all give staff members clarity of job expectation, what exactly do you expect workers to do if they want to do their jobs well. How does their job slot into other jobs in the company and if they do something incorrect how will this affect other employees in their jobs and what support do they need from colleagues to do their job correctly. Employees need to understand what makes their job crucial for the company in order to be able to deliver an optimum performance.
Good communication between employees, supervisors and managers is essential. Managers need to be able to give constructive feedback to their employees. Tell them what they are doing well, what they have to keep doing and coach them how to do things better. Communication between employees needs to be good. Staff members needs to be able to talk amongst each other and discuss what they expect from each other. It is essential that there are good relationships between employees, supervisors and managers.
Employees need to be focused on how to improve their work. To consistently have employees focused on how to improve their work; to do it better, to do it faster. Workers need to be told that this is expected from them then conditions have to be created so that employees come up with suggestions on what could be improved and how. Manager and supervisors need to listen carefully to what staff members have to say and keep them motivated to keep coming up with new suggestions.
To earn the respect of employees a company needs to have a clear ethos and a clear set of values which it is prepared to follow through even when business get tough. The ethos and values need to be clearly communicated to staff and employees need to understand them and realise the reason for the ethos and values. That doesn’t mean that management has to be soft it means management needs to be clear and employees (including managers) who consistently defy the ethos and values will be dealt with to ensure this will not happen again.
These are ways to ensure you will get employee engagement. This is not easy and even more difficult to keep doing over a period of time but the reward of having a large part of your workforce to be engaged is something special and will help you to outperform your competition.