How can you impact employee engagement?

| September 4, 2012

What can you do to make your employees and workplace one which functions productively? Sean Conrad shares his tips on employee engagement.

Much has been written about the importance of employee engagement to an organisation’s bottom line. The cost of disengaged employees to mid-sized businesses is huge, including the cost of replacing those who leave, the potential loss of intellectual capital and the negative impact of those who stay but are disgruntled or don’t give their best.

But what can managers in mid-sized companies do to impact employee engagement without breaking the budget? Actually, quite a lot!

•      Show employees how their work matters. Everyone likes to know that they are part of something larger than themselves. By setting individual goals that have a clear line of sight to organisational strategy, managers help workers see the impact of their contributions. When employees have SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound), they know what is expected of them and how to succeed. By providing frequent updates on the progress the company is making on its strategic goals, managers keep alive the sense of contribution and participation.

•      Give regular feedback on performance. Even more than knowing how the company is doing, employees want to know how they themselves are doing. Train managers to observe employee performance and give frequent (daily to weekly) feedback that is specific to the goals and expectations that have been previously set. To be effective, the feedback must be objective and clear about what you want them to start, stop, increase or decrease.

•      Show your appreciation. Monetary rewards are by no means the only way to recognise employees. Positive feedback and verbal praise, especially in front of others, is a very powerful motivator. Find out what matters to your workers and reward their good performance in a way that is meaningful to them.

•      Provide development opportunities. Again, this doesn’t have to mean a promotion or expensive training programme. Conversations about their career goals, mentoring, stretch assignments, on the job training and coaching all can help an employee grow and prepare for the next step along their career path.

None of the recommendations listed above are financially costly, but all are dependent on managers understanding and closely interacting with workers. All show a level of respect and concern that is a powerful factor in increased employee engagement.

Sean Conrad is a Certified Human Capital Strategist and Senior Product Analyst at Halogen Software. To get more ideas for boosting employee engagement, read his posts on the Halogen blog.