Employee engagement has long been an area of interest for those concerned with the human side of business. But as our understanding of best practice grows, it’s clear that employee engagement is an area that all senior managers, particularly leaders, must pay attention to.
Now with Covid-19 making its mark on our working lives, employee engagement strategies have surfaced in priority. Not just for retaining talent, but for also getting the best out of every individual in your workforce.
Why is employee engagement important now then?
Well, a recent study showed that the majority (57 per cent) of employees have lost confidence in senior managers decision making during the crisis. This in turn can make a huge dent in employee morale, motivation, and ultimately client/customer satisfaction and productivity. It therefore makes good business sense, to keep employees engaged, especially during these uncertain times.
We’ve already highlighted the importance of continuous listening during a crisis, but there’s still more that managers can do.
Let’s explore some of the actionable approaches that can be adopted:
1 – Growing teams
Individuals don’t want to be managed, they want to be cultivated, grown, developed. This means providing the right tools and training. Even in lockdown, this is entirely possible with online courses or pairing up team members with each other for support or mentorship. For the entrepreneurial-minded, the past few months have afforded many of us the chance to upskill or learn a new talent – proving that there has never been a better time to grow colleagues learning.
2 – Measuring sentiment
The best way to understand colleagues is to measure sentiment. Pulse surveys provide a quick snapshot in time, which is neither exhaustive for the employee nor employer to undertake. The results have been proven to be more effective than annual reviews since they provide real-time analysis. If you aren’t already involved, pulse surveys should be high on your list of priorities.
3 – Making work meaningful
William Khan, one of the founders of employee engagement theory suggested that employees need to find work meaningful to be fully engaged with it. In the changing world we find ourselves in, regular contact with colleagues, coupled with pulse surveys, is the best way to monitor and address this.
4 – Building trust and transparency
It’s no coincidence that companies that thrive, are those built on trust and transparency. Business leaders should be asking themselves how to best communicate with colleagues, and how often is enough? Recorded messages, one-on-one’s via video conference and personalised emails all go some way in making a positive impact on colleagues, making them feel valued and connected while apart.
5 – Providing reassurance
It’s understandable that issues around money and job security are amongst some of the biggest anxieties at this current time. If you’re looking at how to improve employee engagement, reassurance and transparency are two of the most important tools you can use. This also means providing adequate support and guidance for customers, with their wellbeing at focus.
Final takeout – putting engagement on the agenda
As a final takeout, if you want to put engagement back on the agenda, here are a few practical ways to achieve this:
- Champion engagement – ensure it is built-in to your company’s DNA and understood by all stakeholders across the business
- Integrate feedback into your business, using the data to form actionable decisions
- Prioritise communication with colleagues in all its forms, to build trust and transparency
- Talk to your team, discuss feedback and results from pulse surveys and show them how you are actively (and continuously) listening.
Do this, and you can expect to see positive results.