Are your employees engaged in their work, or are they estranged from your company’s mission and their role in making it happen?
Are your employees engaged in their work, or are they estranged from your company’s mission and their role in making it happen? That’s a question more and more business owners should be asking. According to JoAnna Brandi, publisher of the Customer Care Coach® training program, there’s growing evidence that the more engaged employees are in what they do, the better their performance and the higher the rewards for everyone.
“The key is to have managers who are skilled at creating employee engagement,” Brandi says. “When you do, you can both make and save money.”
Here are some management tips for creating and sustaining employee engagement:
•Let go of any negative opinions you may have about your employees. Approach each of them as a source of unique knowledge with something valuable to contribute to the company. Remember that you are co-creating the achievement of a vision with them.
•Make sure employees have everything they need to do their jobs. Ask each staff member or the team as a whole if they have everything needed to be as competent as possible. “Just as marketplace and customer needs change daily, employees needs change too,” Brandi says.
•Clearly communicate expectations. Employees can’t perform well or be productive if they don't clearly know what it is they’re there to do—and the part they play in the overall success of the company.
•Get to know your employees. Find out their goals and stressors, what excites them, and how they each define success. “Show an interest in their well-being and, when appropriate, do what it takes to enable them to feel more fulfilled and better balanced,” Brandi advises.
•Make sure they are trained and retrained in problem solving and conflict resolution skills. These critical skills will help them interact better with you, their teammates, customers, and suppliers.
•Constantly ask how you are doing in your employees’ eyes. Use conversation starters such as, “It’s one of my goals to constantly improve myself as a manager. What would you like to see me do differently? What could I be doing to make your job easier?” Be sure to accept feedback graciously and to express appreciation.
•Reward and recognize employees in meaningful ways. Celebrate both accomplishments and efforts to give employees working on long-term goals a boost.
•Be consistent for the long haul. “If you start an ‘engagement initiative’ and then drop it your efforts will backfire, creating employee estrangement,” Brandi warns. “A manager’s ongoing commitment to keeping people engaged, involved in, and excited about the work they do and the challenges they face must be a daily priority.”
To learn more about employment issues facing your small business, contact SCORE “Mentors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 12,000 volunteers who provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. For more information contact the Lake of the Ozarks SCORE Chapter at SCORE Lake of the Ozarks | Free Mentoring | Workshops | Resources | SCORE, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 573-346-5441.