Teamwork is critical to the success of all businesses and organisations. Proactively engaging with your workers and team members takes time and resource, as well as a plan.
While your goal as the leader is to drive the business forward with improved productivity, sales, and more market share, it’s your workers who are ‘operational’ aka at the coal-face. Your workers are part of the production, marketing, sales, tech, accounting and customer service. In this post, we’ve put together our top ten employee engagement techniques that take are really to do with how you engage with your team, including relationship management, collaboration, and inclusion.
10 Ways to Engage Your Business Employees
The first principle of engaging employees is quite similar to an everyday activity you go through in your business. Like audience discovery, you need to perform employee discovery. This means building a persona for your ideal employee with relevant demographics like age, location, likes and dislikes, hobbies, life goals, and lifestyle will help you lead them better. This is an excellent start to understand your employee’s work.
After all, you cannot motivate a person without understanding what ticks them. But, to use the potential of this step, you need employee engagement ideas that can penetrate deep into the psyche of your team members and create a positive impact on them.
Quality time equals quality performance
Time and again, researchers have displayed leadership behavior to be the key differentiator between high-performance versus low-performance teams. This means anyone who plays the role of a leader at any level, maybe your team manager or you as a founder, cannot compromise on interactions with employees. But be cognizant of how you come out in front of your teams here. Don’t just stick to work conversations. Talk trivia. Have a coffee or lunch with your team. It is the admixture of professional coaching and performance management with the informal time that makes the difference.
Great leaders create a sense of purpose
It is one thing to engage a person physically and entirely another to drive them emotionally. Creating value for your employees doesn’t end with providing them with tangible monetary compensations and perks. You need to add more. If your employee lacks a sense of fulfillment at the end of the day, it is not suitable for your team’s health.
In a job market where 42% of new job seekers feel underused at their current work, you at least need to create a workspace that feels more than just a job, if not a mission. Help your employees reach a personal goal, be a part of their growth.
What you preach, you should practice
Great leaders lead by examples. This means the next time you ask your employees to be punctual in meetings starts with you. If you do not carry out the same principles that you preach to your teams, the day is not far when your leadership attempt will fail. What follows here will be a low cohesive, unproductive team.
The only motivation that could drive them now is the month-end monetary remuneration that your company renders them with. In the tough days, you are snatching away their reasons to stick around. A perfect start to this strategy is to show empathy to your team members.
Schedule monthly time to have one-on-one conversations with your teams to take feedback. Considering their opinions is a crucial driver of motivation in your team. You will create a sense of belongingness in them.
Ditch exit meetings, instead have ‘stay’ conversations
As you may have guessed by the term, a stay meeting is precisely the opposite of an exit meeting. It allows you as an employer to create an opportunity to alleviate the pain points of your existing employees that caused them to take such a massive decision. This can impact your employee retention rate exponentially. Take this opportunity to revisit your journey together and consider how you can restart it.
The future team is cross-functional
Having an agile, T-shaped team at your disposal is the biggest asset in today’s global economy. It not only helps to keep your business at its dynamic best but creates an opportunity for collaboration amongst your employees.
Think of it like this. If each of your team members had the same skill set, it would be very challenging to cope with a situation that came utterly impromptu.
Cross-functional teams keep your business ready for challenges at all times. Each of your team members fulfills a need and complements each other. This means you create a sense of competition but in a healthy way. They learn to support each other and create a vision for the future. This structure also helps in conflict and stress management, ending the silo working model for good.
How good is your team bonding?
Relationship management with coworkers is an absolute need for developing a high-performance team. This means if your team members don’t see an extension of themselves at the workplace, you fail to meet the basic need of socializing.
Feeling positive and happy is crucial for the mental health of your teams. You can promote multiple programs and activities to boost this culture.
Create programs like happy hours or Friday fun where your team engages with each other for reasons other than work. Bootcamps, open hours, and team conferences, and parties also are great ways to achieve this. Milestone parties are a good concept for engagement too.
Flexibility is your game changer
What would you choose for your employee to do for your startup, perform a 10 hours workday with 70% efficiency levels or an 8-hour workday with 98% efficiency?
A flexible work culture encourages more focused and productive hours at work. Promote the idea of fulfillment not busy. You can experiment with establishing a flex-hours to remote work.
Change your daily goals to mid-week or weekly goals. Flexibility comes in all shapes and sizes. This means it holds different definitions for each of your employees. Before making a final decision, don’t forget to take the opinion of all your team members.
Consider a 20-percent program
Eat sleep and work might look like the go-to motto of the fast world. But ask for honest feedback from your employees. Everyone hates it.
Create room for your teams to spend resting times inside the office campus. You can use the 20 percent program model famously coined by Google, where employees spend 20% of their work time as they like. This means your team will be at their peak performance if you stop micromanaging them.
Spend time to firm your core values
With 90% of professionals considering the culture to be an integral part of an organization, creating a strong ethics and company culture is no more a vanity drill.
Your company’s leaders at all levels need to establish a clear set of values that every stakeholder of the company abides by. Be it the founder or the vice president, or a product manager, everyone must be essentially tied by the same set of beliefs and values.
One of the hidden benefits of establishing values is the kind of message you give to prospective talents. Remember, the goal is simple here. Attract the right type of talent to create a high-performance team.
Creativity is your new identity
If you attributed creativity with wasted productivity, then it’s time to think again. Your teams already have hard problems to solve daily. Giving a creative window keeps your teams engaged while ensuring they have time to develop creative solutions. Include a tinge of art and artistic spark to the daily drill of monotonous work.
Promote and encourage design thinking amongst your team. An excellent example of this is gamifying your brainstorming sessions. This will not only speed up productivity but boost the quality of work produced.
Hitachi President Barbara Dyer says the key to fostering creativity is creating a landscape that promotes it to breathe freely.
Your employee engagement at the core should have one goal: build a team with a mindset and motivation to create the future. Just depending upon trending ideas will not help you sustain in the long term. Sure, it will resolve your pain points with human resource management for now. But what about tomorrow?
Staying closely connected with your employees is the primary job of any founder. If you can successfully alleviate their problems, you are indirectly helping to remove your startup’s problems.
Remember, teamwork makes the dream work.