How to do you get your team to turn up for work every day with a positive attitude, ready to do great work? Trust me, the power is in your hands.
There’s a lot of talk about employee engagement nowadays. And that’s effectively what this is. Creating an organisation full of people who have that feeling of being up to something together. Who are driven to work hard, motivated to contribute to their organisation’s success.
You can see how that would make an impact, right? It’s no wonder Employee Engagement Programmes are the subject of the moment in smart organisations everywhere.
But as a manager, you shouldn’t sit around and rely on the corporate initiatives. The annual employee engagement survey could be too late.
Surveys take months to arrange, complete and review. By the time the results have been discussed and prioritised, the problems have just got worse. And when the improvements are finally implemented, how many of them directly impact your team?
Sure, it is great that your company is doing something. But an annual survey? It’s just not enough.
Tell me this. If you wanted to feel more engaged in the job you are doing, what would you prefer? A link to a survey every September or a manager who thought about it every day.
Whatever your company is doing about improving employee engagement, it is up to you to think about your team. They are your responsibility – and whether they are engaged or not lies with you.
As Simon Sinek says in his Ted Talk Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe.
“You are their leader. You set the tone”.
Tom Gimbel goes into more detail in his Inc article
“Great companies have managers who look at engagement as a real-time metric. They pay attention to their direct reports’ behaviours, reactions and interactions. They have a pulse on their teams and are hyper aware of engagement day-to-day”.
It’s Up To You To Improve Employee Engagement In Your Team
So do something today. I’m not talking about a formal ‘I’m doing employee engagement’ effort. Just make sure you are talking to your team and, most importantly, listening to their responses.
Start by having conversations more frequently with your team members. Here are five talking points that will really make a difference
1. ‘What did you do this weekend?’
Work shouldn’t be the most important part of anyone’s world. It just shouldn’t. So find out what is in theirs.
Let them take the lead on how much detail they share. But if you don’t know a little about their other world, you won’t understand what motivates them. And you won’t know how to help on the occasions those two worlds aren’t in sync. Knowing to give some flexibility just when it’s needed will have an employee paying you back tenfold.
2. ‘This is my vision’
Tell them the direction the bus is heading and what to expect to see on route. Do it with a positive attitude and show your enthusiasm and commitment. And then watch them all clamber on and grab a seat. I bet they won’t dash to the back either. They’ll want a good view
In the words of Steve Jobs
“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you”
3. ‘What would you do?’
Each and every one of your team members knows stuff that you don’t. They see things from a different viewpoint. A great leader not only recognises that but they embrace it. Ask for their input and implement it where you can.
You may be driving the bus but someone else may be able to suggest some shortcuts. Another person may notice the flat tyre before you set off. And someone will bring the sandwiches so you don’t have to stop on the way.
It gives your team the feeling that you are ‘up to something together’. That they can make a difference. If you have ever been in a team like that, you will understand how great that feels.
4. ‘What other skills would you like to learn?’
Give your team a sense of opportunity. They will feel liberated. Perhaps there is something you can delegate to help them grow. Maybe they could swap some tasks with a colleague so they both develop in new areas.
One of the biggest reasons people leave a job is that they see no route for them to develop. Be conscious of this. Find ways for them to use the skills they have and develop new ones.
5. ‘Thank you’
It could be
- a quiet word one to one,
- an email copying in your boss,
- a post-it on their computer screen,
- a pat on the back accompanied by a tray of doughnuts or
- a loud public statement.
There are so many ways to do it to suit the moment. The most important this is to do it. Frequently.
And thank for effort, not just success. We have all been in those jobs where it feels like you are putting in herculean effort and still not getting results. Notice those efforts. These may be the most important ‘thankyous’ you give.
What are you waiting for?
Employee engagement is not about the annual survey.
Yes, if the company takes action based on the results, that makes a difference.
But it is mostly about you. And about the environment you build for your team to thrive in.
Do something today.
(Click here for another 40 ideas you may want to consider)