How do you engage employees? Employee and team engagement is a critical factor for organizational success. It is easy to get off track, or perhaps more common, there is no track at all. While it might be considered to be a complex topic, getting started is simple.
Employee engagement is often considered to be about motivation, inspiration, and attitude. Yes, these are important, and yes, they are all part of what might engage employees. So how do you create this type of environment?
Engage Employees – Create the Environment
Here are five simple steps that can make a difference:
- Set Expectations. Setting expectations shouldn’t be thought of as, “do it or die,” or “my way or the highway.” Expectations should help employees see the big picture. Consider expressing where things are at today, and what the longer term picture should look like. Create the vision for the future.
- Establish Goals. On the surface goals might seem like a pretty simple thing, but in reality I find it to be one of the hardest things for employees to get their arms around. Goals should take you from point A to point B, or C, D, and E. Ideally goals connect to the bigger picture of expectations or vision and are supplemented with milestones scattered along the way.
- Short Milestones. Along the path for goal achievement it is best to have short (distance) but meaningful milestones. In psychology this is sometimes known as proximal goals. The concept is that smaller or shorter goals are easier to grasp, the step-by-step achievement also builds self-efficacy and confidence.
- Focus on Results. Certainly there will be obstacles or hurdles on the road to achieving any goal. It is easy to get distracted by these, get caught up in the drama of it all, and lose focus. You know the expectations, and you know the goals associated with meeting or exceeding them. Learn from a mistake, but stay focused.
- Celebrate Wins. Each day, week, or month there are likely many items that are worth doing that just don’t get done. There are sometimes mistakes, unexpected constraints, and other setbacks. Learning from them and pursuing corrective action is important, staying stuck with them is unacceptable. Make a conscious effort to celebrate every win, every time, no matter how small.
Engage the Team
Are you trying to engage a team or the entire organization? The same steps apply. Some might be implemented on an individual basis and some for a workgroup, department, or the whole organization.
Organizations often get caught up in appointing a committee or a task force to create buy-in or improve engagement. Probably one of the first things they think of is throwing a party, a kick-off event, or a company picnic. At the event the committee helps unveil a slogan, a sign, and the CEO gives a little speech.
Sure a theme, a slogan, or a catchy little corporate skit might help with awareness, yet those things are not responsible for team engagement.
In addition to a kick-off event or company picnic there might be events targeted to improve camaraderie among management team members or work groups. Maybe bowling, a softball game, or a limo guided winery tour.
Often the challenge with any or all of these activities is that they can become viewed as meaningless hypocrisy, especially when long-term employees have witnessed these time and time again with no favorable long-term outcomes.
There is no respect and therefore no engagement with do as I say not as I do environments.
Truth about Engagement
How do you engage employees? Engage them with an environment for success.
How do you do it?
You can do it with these five simple steps.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.