Five Tips to Cultivate Organic Employee EngagementJuly 30, 2019
By Hillary Redwine
Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company or an ambitious entrepreneur who has just embarked on your next start-up venture, employee engagement is often overlooked as a major factor contributing to your company’s success. When leaders make a point to share their vision for the company and give team members a voice, the result is a happier, more productive workforce.
Throughout my career, I have seen both ends of the spectrum: leaders who excel at inspiring employee morale with their approachable demeanor and authenticity, and those who avoid the tough questions, resulting in the loss of trust and buy-in from their team. And once a leader loses credibility with his/her staff, it can be difficult to gain back.
So how do you approach employee engagement without it feeling like a forced initiative? Below are a few recommended best practices business leaders can implement to build trust and create a culture where employees feel valued.
Emails and phone calls are an efficient way to communicate, but they should not replace in-person meetings. Make it a priority to meet with employees face-to-face as much as possible. Frequency will likely depend on the size of your business, but there are several options for direct engagement, such as hosting an employee town hall or a more informal “coffee chat” event. For smaller groups, consider lunch-and-learn events with a limited number of employees.
Provide a purpose
It’s only human to want to feel like you’re providing value and making a difference – and that holds true in the workplace as well. Employees want to know that what they do on a daily basis really matters. In fact, thriving employees are three times more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose1. Share your vision, keep team members informed of how the company is performing, and let them know how their work directly contributes to the company’s success.
Allow plenty of time for employees to ask questions during presentations, town halls and other real-time events. Consider using a tool like Sli.do, which allows team members to submit questions anonymously. For pre-recorded events like leadership videos and podcasts, invite employees to submit questions/topics of interest that can be answered “on air.”
Honesty is essential to building trust in personal relationships – and it’s no different in business. Be willing to answer the difficult questions, even if you know it might not be the answer employees want to hear. They will appreciate your forthrightness versus avoidance.
Lastly, remember to thank team members for their work and recognize their accomplishments. Employees who feel valued and know their leaders are invested in them will work that much harder, and the results will likely be reflected in the company’s bottom line.
1. “What Employees Really Want At Work,” Forbes, October 2018