The Don’t’s (and Do’s) of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement, long the buzzword and bane of HR managers everywhere, has crept into boardroom discussions as organizations struggle to retain top talent while keeping up with recruitment.

According to Kevin Kruse, author of Employee Engagement 2.0, employee engagement is “the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals, resulting in the use of discretionary effort.” Managers that successfully tap into that effort are rewarded with an active team that takes fewer sick days and is more personally involved with the growth and success of the organization.

So, how do you engage your employees? Here are five traits of disengagement and ways to combat against them.

  1. They don’t feel valued. It’s tough to work at full capacity when you feel undermined or like your work doesn’t mean anything. Your employees must not only connect with what they’re doing, but feel like their work has an impact. Give them freedom to try new methods and always let them know when they’re doing good work.
  2. They don’t go the extra mile. The clock strikes 5:00 and some employees bolt out the door. It’s a problem if it happens every day and there is still work to be done. One suggestion is to create an environment that your employees want to be in. When people are relaxed and have a little fun, work doesn’t seem like work anymore.
  3. They don’t like their managers. It’s difficult to support employees and gain their trust while still being a firm and fair leader. The cornerstone of a good relationship is respect, and it also makes difficult conversations a little bit easier. The way to earn respect is by ensuring good communication, avoiding favoritism, and listening to what your employees have to say.
  4. They’re looking for other jobs. Without any opportunities to grow or advance to new positions, people typically head for the door. If they’re taking on more work with a slim chance of career advancement, they’re going to take their talent somewhere else. Develop employees - offer coaching or mentoring programs so they can gain more experience, and provide a career path.
  5. They don’t innovate. Innovation suffers at the hand of disengagement. Without the willingness to spend extra time or the passion to work their daily tasks, a disengaged employee does not have what it takes to follow through with new ideas. By allowing people time and resources to pursue things that interest them, they will likely become more engaged.

Engaged employees perform better and more efficiently, ultimately meaning better business. That also means companies with engaged employees are more likely to be profitable and successful.

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