Would you like your business to have that all elusive competitive advantage?
Want to steal a march on your rivals?
The biggest weapon in the armoury of the best businesses are the talents of their employees. H
Of course, the theory is all well and good but how do you actually foster this elusive engagement?
Here’s my top ten tips for how you can increase your own businesses employee engagement.
Tip1 – Communicate the vision.
History has shown that people will rally around a cause and if you are in an organisation that has a clear purpose then you should work out a way of encapsulating this and communicate it at each and every opportunity.
Tip 2 – listen to what people are saying.
There is nothing that increases buy-in more than actually giving people a voice…
…and nothing destroys it quicker than just paying lip-service to what they have actually told you.
Work out a process of getting good quality feedback, make sure you’ve understood what you’ve been told and report back what action you’ve taken as a result.
Tip 3 – Give people constructive feedback.
One of the worst mistakes companies make is to have a kind of ‘letterbox’ culture where someone does work and sends it off and then never hears any feedback, be it good or bad.
Take time to let people know how the piece of work they stayed late to finish has made a valuable difference to the company.
Tip 4 – Walk the walk
Employees don’t suddenly become engaged because people tell them to be.
They have to see the directors and senior management team buying into the ethos of the company and exhibiting the behaviours that they themselves are expected to show.
Almost ‘management by osmosis’, it’s both the easiest to do and the hardest to fake.
Tip 5 – Hire attitudes and behaviours
…and not qualifications or background.
There’s an old saying that a woman marries a man thinking that she’ll be able to change him and a man marries a woman hoping that she won’t change at all!
Don’t expect that you’re going to take on someone who is dull and negative and then they will magically become dynamic and positive just because they are exposed to your culture.
Instead take on people with a compatible attitude then train them to do the job.
Do what football teams do and hire people who are already better than you and then look to improve them further.
Tip 6 – Invest, invest, invest
If you’ve ever been in the position where someone has gone out of their way to help with your career then you’ll know just how much loyalty that can engender.
Employees that see their managers going out of their way to invest in training and development opportunities for them are always going to be much more engaged than those that are left to stagnate.
Tip 7 – Be transparent and honest
Telling people what they want to hear works for a very short time and then quickly destroys credibility.
Most people behave like adults and if you have bad news but can give them good reasons why they can’t have what they want and you’re totally transparent about the decision process then people will really appreciate your honesty.
Tip 8 – Take time to do something good as a team
a sponsored walk, volunteering at a local food kitchen, raising money for your local hospital, whatever it is then spending a little bit of time to help a good cause can really help with team bonding.
Tip 9 – Take time to have a little fun
Some companies have ‘beer Friday’ as a social calm down after the working week, some play games in the office but all good companies know that having fun together increases engagement from their colleagues and builds a much better supportive environment.
Tip 10 – and my best tip? Say ‘Thank you’
Nothing makes people feel valued and that their contribution is worthwhile more than their boss saying a heartfelt thank you. Make it a habit and make sure you mean it.
And one final word…
Notice that none of my tips really involve paying people more money.
In fact, they are pretty much all about attitude and what’s come to be called ‘emotional intelligence’.
Just simply thinking about your colleagues and being considerate goes such a long way in terms of employee engagement and doesn’t cost the earth.