You can build game rooms and throw all the free pizza at your employees that you want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be more invested in your company and that you’ll get the best work out of them. If employees feel like your company’s leadership is lacking and that they’re limited or stagnant in their roles, trouble (or at least turnover) lies ahead.
Lack of employee engagement is plaguing the U.S. workforce. A 2014 Gallup poll of more than 80,000 employed adults found that 51 percent were “not engaged” at work, and an additional 17.5 percent were “actively disengaged.” An Officevibe infographic from last year revealed that 75 percent of people who leave a job cite their bosses as a reason. Also, while 89 percent of employers think their former employees have left for more money, only 12 percent actually have done so.
On the bright side, companies that were found to have high employee engagement bring in 2.5 times more revenue than competitors who struggle to maintain their employees’ loyalty. Additionally, employees who are engaged in their roles were discovered to be 87 times less likely to leave their company than their disengaged colleagues.
Are you looking to foster a workplace environment that brings in more revenue and has a strong rate of employee retention? Of course you are. Therefore, start working on the strategies below in order to boost employee engagement:
Challenge Employees and Set Clear Goals
Employees that have something to work toward and are consistently challenged will stay engaged. Whether it’s seeing a project to completion or if there’s a promotion in store, employees like to consistently pursue goals of some form. Getting them bogged down with repetitive, unchallenging work that has no end in sight will have them yearning for the exit door, or, at least, it will be a waste of their talents.
Growth is crucial to keeping employees engaged. If they feel like the company is growing and that they can grow within the company, then you should have them locked in for the long term. When you set goals for each employee, try to make it a collaborative process. Get their input and then arrive at goals that are clear and challenging, yet reasonable.
Live out the Company Vision and Encourage a Strong Company Culture
Your company’s vision statement should inspire and motivate employees while also keeping them on track toward a common goal. If you’re trying to inspire them to embrace the corporate vision, you must do more than direct them; your management team has to lead by example. It will be nearly impossible for your employees to “buy in” if the leadership team doesn’t appear to practice what they preach.
On a related note, don’t forget to keep working on fostering a strong company culture, which could entail activities outside of work and at lunch. Leaders who take time to interact with employees apart from the normal business setting will help build workplace engagement. Volunteering is a great activity for team-building. Softball, bowling, golf or volleyball teams are also prime ways to get employees involved. Taking time to get to know employees on an individual level, while still giving them some distance, will only help to keep them engaged and committed to your company’s vision.
Transparency Is Key
Let employees know what’s going on with the company, such as what changes are in store, which obstacles and opportunities lie ahead and how the staff is doing in terms of reaching its goals. Meet with your staff on a regular basis, and set aside some time to review individual performances. The Officevibe infographic noted that 43 percent of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, whereas only 18 percent of disengaged workers get feedback that often.
Employees appreciate being in the loop, and when they are, they’ll start to get an idea of how all their work is starting to pay off. If they feel like what they do has an effect on how well the company performs, they’re going to be all that more invested and engaged. Eventually, they will start to act as leaders themselves, and they’ll be some of your biggest advocates in making sure the company grows and succeeds.
Keep Your Cool and Maintain Confidence
Even when your business is in a rough patch or you’re facing an unfamiliar predicament, keeping your cool and operating with confidence in every situation is going to be crucial to keeping employees from getting frazzled or anxious. You’re still learning and growing as they are, but you’ve got to model the demeanor necessary to face all challenges. You don’t have to sugar-coat everything (see “Transparency Is Key”), but you can always reiterate your belief in the company’s mission and that you all will pull out of any rough waters before long.
If you model the qualities of a leader and you live by the company’s vision, you just might be cultivating a group of leaders in their own right. If that occurs, you can expect many of them to stick around with the company for years, and some will certainly grow into larger roles down the line. Invest some time in helping your employees grow professionally, and you’ll likely strengthen their allegiance and elicit their highest quality of work.