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8 Steps You Can Take to Empower Your Workforce


Posted by Insightlink on 04/15/22

Since the pandemic began nearly two years ago, companies have had to reshape their focus on employees and the human impact the pandemic has had on their personal and professional lives. Many companies and their HR leaders have had to pivot and think outside the box to address employees' needs, retain employees, and keep organizations thriving as a result of the Great Resignation.

Many employers have been delayed from returning to work because of the Omicron variant, and millions of workers have been impacted by long-haul COVID. Yet HR leaders everywhere are helping companies to design more feasible employee engagement plans.

Employee engagement has been garnering increasing attention in the last decade and many companies have developed strategies designed to help them get the most out of their employees. The key to engagement is more than coercing employees to work harder and do more. It is also about developing productive working relationships and a conducive working environment where employees can make the most of their skills and abilities for the benefit of their employers and themselves. Leadership and management have a vital role, which is to motivate and inspire others, to lead the team, and to create a work environment that can facilitate collaboration.

fully engaged employees

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

What Is Employee Engagement?

Engagement is defined as the degree of mental and emotional connection employees have to their jobs, their teams, and their organization. Employees who feel a sense of belonging to their organization hustle harder, stay longer and even motivate others to do the same.

Benefits Of Employee Engagement for the employer:

  1. Lower absenteeism
  2. Fostering workplaces that are productive and positive.
  3. A stronger commitment, loyalty, and performance from employees.
  4. Development of employees' abilities and skills.
  5. Better Employee Health.
  6. Innovation and Ideation.
  7. Greater synergy
  8. Higher productivity

Benefits Of Employee Engagement For Individuals

  1. Their work gratifies them and makes them feel good
  2. A more positive work environment to work in
  3. An increased morale
  4. Feeling valued and appreciated for their efforts
  5. Taking pride in their achievements as an individual and as a team
  6. Realization of their own potential
  7. Experience less burnout
  8. Promotion and career advancement

In Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. (Source: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/285674/improve-employee-engagement-workplace.aspx)This means they are emotionally committed to contributing their time, talent, and energy to the organization. It is easy to see why this poses both a serious challenge for most leaders and managers at this time - yet also an incredible opportunity for companies that master employee engagement.

Today's business environment is highly competitive and constantly evolving. To successfully compete and dominate their segment, organizations are required to grow faster, which often leaves little time for managing financial goals. To meet organizational goals, managers need to learn to manage themselves, their teams and accomplish organizational goals at the same time.

There are three types of employees in any organization:

Actively Engaged: Employees who are highly engaged are dependable and dedicated to the organization. The roles they hold make them excel and fully utilize their talents. Their work ethic is contagious, and they take on responsibilities outside of their position description. More engaged employees tend to be more likely to emerge as leaders and remain with an organization for long.

Disengaged: It is not always easy to identify disengaged employees since they are often quite happy in their jobs.However, they do the bare minimum and do not have a sense of ownership or commitment to the company's mission, vision, values, or goals. Neither productivity nor profitability is important to them. They are often less customer-focused. Having workers like these on your team can be both a threat and a great opportunity - because if they are managed properly, they can be turned into engaged employees who thrive at the organization.

Actively Disengaged: An unhappy employee can negatively impact others around them as well as add to the toxicity of the organizational environment. Moreover, most of them have well-respected skills in their area of expertise, which makes it even worse to pick them out. Because they know their job well and are adept at it, they often exert considerable influence on others. It is difficult to turn them around to be better employees.

A manager or the leader of an organization should ask the following question to his employees to gauge whether they feel an affinity towards their organization. As far as my work quality is concerned, I know what is expected of me.

I have the resources and training needed to excel in this role.

  • Every day is an opportunity to do what I'm best at.
  • I am frequently recognized, praised, and critiqued.

My manager acts in my best interests. I trust him.

  • I am heard and valued.
  • My organization gives me numerous opportunities for professional and personal development.
     

Eight Powerful Steps to Improve Employee Engagement
 

1. Clear Communication Channels:

Clear communication provides insight into what employees are thinking. By conducting surveys, holding team meetings, and using suggestion boxes, you can understand how your employees feel. Be a good listener. Show that you care. Attend to their concerns.

2. Provide Meaningful Work:

Employees who are engaged are engaged in meaningful work and understand how their contributions contribute to the company's mission, purpose, and goals. This can only be possible if you have placed the right candidate for the right job and who know their career trajectory.

3. Invest in your employee's growth

The most productive businesses prioritize employees. Invest in your employees organize goal-oriented training (both internal and external) to improve communication skills, foster teamwork, instil and renew enthusiasm and cultivate a sense of understanding among your employees.

4. Provide Feedback:

It is more likely that employees will be encouraged by frequent feedback than simply receiving it annually during performance reviews. Give your employees both encouraging and constructive feedback. Positive people produce good results. Make your employees feel good about themselves and they will do well. Having a rewards system or highlighting an employee's achievements in a company newsletter will make them feel valued and encourage others to do the same. Ken Blanchard, renowned management guru and author of The One Minute Manager puts it across very well. He says, “Feedback is The Breakfast of Champions.”

5. Showcase Opportunities of growth:

If you truly invest in your employees' careers, they will stay longer at the organization. Engaging employees by expanding their existing skillset, helping them upskill and motivating them with something to strive for keeps them happy and motivated. Through your learning and development initiatives, you demonstrate your value for your employees - rather than replacing employees with individuals that possess the skills you seek, you continuously invest in them. It shows that you value your employees as individuals that you continually invest in their development rather than replacing them with candidates who have the skills you need.

6. Form an employee engagement committee:

A committee of high-performing, passionate employees can help you define strategies to improve employee satisfaction. There should not be more than eight members of the committee. Again it depends on the size and structure of the organization.It's best to ask for volunteers first -- those who are eager to serve are usually the most engaged employees. By discussing what is needed to create a workplace where everyone feels valued, the committee will develop solutions to the issues identified in the employee engagement survey. They then share these solutions with the management and make sure that the suggestions materialize into tangible engagement initiatives.

7. Boost engagement with better work-life balance:

It is essential to keep a work-life balance to prevent stress and burnout, two major causes of employee disengagement. Flexibility is the key to helping employees achieve a balance between the personal and the professional. Flexible employees achieve a good work-life balance. Allowing employees to work from home or remotely and allowing them to take short breaks will help them perform better at work as well as instil more respect towards their organization.

8. Rethink the design of your office space:

Engagement in an office setting depends on several design factors. Employees who can choose the environment that best suits their task by working in the state of the art environments do better at work. Make sure your workplace has ample space for open collaboration, closed-door meetings, and holding private communications. Makeovers and finding a workspace that encourages collaboration and inspiration will help to keep your employees happy.

Job satisfaction, a sense of commitment to the organization and feeling empowered are the three corners of the golden triangle of employee engagement.

Author's Bio

Parth Shah Author

Parth Shah Co-Founder, COO DevX accelerator 
With 10 years of experience in operations and training, Parth is a go-to person for his team and even a multitude of growing start-ups. His knack lies at spotting and supporting start-ups, helping them streamline their processes and even take their ventures to the next level. After successfully establishing two start-ups and exploring the start-up landscape up-close Parth has learnt the nitty-gritty of the industry, which he now shares with fellow entrepreneurs.
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