We’re approaching the turn of another year. That means most leaders are putting pen to paper and developing strategies to improve their business.
If your organization is service-oriented or otherwise dependent on people to deliver value, no doubt your strategy will include ways to engage employees. After all, it’s the best way to deliver better customer service, build better products, be more efficient, and enhance the bottom line.
If you want to engage your employees, listen up
Research shows there are three crucial dimensions of employee engagement. Missing one could be the difference between an associate who goes that extra mile to delight a customer – and one who calls in sick on opening day at the ballpark.
1. Engagement with the work
People need to be engaged with their job. It doesn’t matter where they work or who they work with – what’s important is that they find meaning in what they do and can see how their work contributes to the greater good. It’s easy to spot employees who are engaged with their work. They’re proud of what they do, they speak highly of their job, and they’re motivated to give their best each day.
To engage your employees, start by asking them what part of their job they love most, what aspect they feel most fulfilled by – and then give them the opportunity to do those things more often. Be sure to offer authentic and consistent recognition for a job well done, and encourage them to train and mentor new employees.
2. Engagement with the team
Your associates should also be engaged with their teams. They may not love what they do, but find great enjoyment in the people they work with day in and day out. They want to see one another succeed and don’t want to see anyone left behind. Commitment to their team keeps them from hunting for a position elsewhere, which reduces turnover costs.
To better engage your teams, focus on creating an environment that fosters strong relationships. When your employees feel a strong sense of belonging, it can reduce unwanted turnover. In addition, employees that stick around are a great benefit to your organization as a whole and to your customers.
3. Engagement with the organization
Finally, employees should be engaged with your organization. When engagement happens, employees want to stay put, they refer your organization to others, and they’re highly productive. They’re connected to your organization, believe in your company values, and are aligned with your direction. They believe in what you do and they want to be part of it.
There are two key ways to engage employees with your organization. First, you need inspirational leaders who make culture a priority day in and day out. Second, you need a strong brand that your employees feel proud to be part of. I once read that some Nike employees have swoosh tattoos. Talk about organizational engagement!
The bottom line on employee engagement
As you finalize your strategy for the coming year, be sure to focus your efforts on engaging your people with their work, their teams, and the organization as a whole. Doing so will help them to feel fulfilled, connected, and rewarded. Incorporate these concepts into your employee engagement plan and be assured you will reap the benefits in your culture, customer service, and product quality – not to mention, your bottom line.