Employee engagement is one of the key strategies to attracting and keeping the best talent on board in the modern world. However studies, indicate that this is not always the case, especially in Kenya where only 38.5% of the current employees responded that they were engaged in their current jobs.
As a manager at any level, you should aim at keeping those under you engaged as this is the best way to ensure that they meet their targets and your strategies are being implemented smoothly.
Engaged employee go the extra mile, get the job done with minimum effort and follow ups from you, are passionate of their jobs, and feel proud of their achievements. This eventually shows up in their productivity and help the company stay ahead of the competition.
Obviously, everyone wants to work with engaged employees but, just how do you achieve this?
The first step to keeping employees engaged is to find out what makes them dissatisfied and what could make them more satisfied. So, create surveys that can help you collect meaningful information and not just information for the sake of looking like you actually care.
Endeavor to collect specific, measurable, actionable and relevant data from employees as this will help you design the right engagement strategies. Once you have the data, take action on it. Most companies collect opinions from employees and then shelf the results, which is counterproductive.
This bottom-up approach is what will get you in touch with the reality and help you have a meaningful engagement process.
2. Give your employees a voice
In most cases, companies carry out research activities once a year and use the information collected as the gold standard. In reality, people become disengaged from daily activities. Therefore, you should create channels through which your employees can speak to you on a regular basis. This way, arising issues which them disengaged can be resolved as soon as they arise.
The more employees feel that their issues matter, the more engaged they will be at work and the less time they spend job hunting instead of being disengaged.
3. Provide career-growth opportunities
Most millennials cite the lack of career growth as their reason for leaving a company. In some cases, their growth paths are not clear and instead of staying around to wait for things to be figured out, they start job hunting. During this time, they are not engaged to their jobs, which means losing man hours and significant energy which could be channeled towards productivity.
To overcome this problem, create clear internal growth paths for employees and set realistic targets which are rewarded with growth. This way, your employees have something to work towards and a clear understanding of how to get there. If you show your employees that you are committed to helping them achieve their personal goals, they will in turn be committed to helping you achieve your company’s goals.
4. Empower your employees to bring change
Millennials note that they feel engaged to their jobs when their work makes a difference. Employees want their ideas and work to matter so a top-down approach kills their morale and they become disengaged.
Besides, employees, especially within the lower ranks, actively put in a lot of their time in the company and this means that they can come up with great ideas to help the company grow. Create an organizational culture which shows employees that their ideas matter and they have the ability to bring change, even if they at at the lower ranks of the company.
This way, you keep employees engaged, as they strive to bring change.
5. Create a safe working environment
No one will be engaged at work if they constantly have to watch over their shoulder. Threats of job losses or unnecessary reprimands will only keep your employees focused on not losing their jobs or covering their backs, as opposed to actually getting the job done.
A culture of backstabbing will also keep employees more engaged in protecting themselves as opposed to being productive. A safe environment allows employees to focus on being productive and improving their performances over time, which yields results for the company.
6. Recognize great performance
Most people say that their bosses are quick to reprimand them when they make a mistake and do not recognise them when they perform well. This obviously, keeps the effort towards avoiding mistakes, as opposed to being the very best that they can possibly be.
Simple gestures such as praising them when they do a good job will go a long way in making them strive to be better as opposed to simply getting the job done. Make employee recognition part of the process and keep your employees motivated at all times.
7. Understand individual working preferences
If you have a clear understanding of how everyone works and what their preferences are, you will assign them projects and tasks that brings out their strengths, and this keeps them engaged in what they are doing. People tend to take a proactive stance on a project that they enjoy than one that they are forced to work on.
Sometimes, it is not possible to make people work on projects that they do not like but you can introduce things and strategies which make them work how they know best and how they like working. This way, you will still keep them engaged.
8. Set Realistic Goals
One of the things that keep people disengaged in their jobs is having to work towards unrealistic expectations. While you may think that this keeps them engaged on their work, it actually only makes them work towards achieving the targets, as opposed to finding creative ways of solving problems. The result is that they will simply be delivering the bare minimum and not bringing in any growth.
Employee engagement remains a big challenge for many people, as it is the first step towards achieving great results. Be sure to use these strategies to keep employees engaged, regardless of whatever level of management you are at, and you will see great results in return.