If you are a small business owner who wants to grow a successful company, chances are you bring the kind of enthusiasm to work that can barely be contained. When it’s your business on the line, even on your worst days, you know how important it is to show up and give it your best. So when your employees don’t share the same drive, it can be especially frustrating. This is why it’s important to learn how to boost employee engagement and energize your team.
All employers want engaged employees who are not only there to collect a paycheck but also actively involved, enthusiastic, and committed to the job and the organization.
Leading disengaged workers can feel like a drag. Your inner go-getter thinks everyone should be motivated on their own and that it’s not your responsibility to spoonfeed them inspiration. But the reality is, it is your business and your responsibility to do what you can to create a workplace where people are excited about their jobs. The buck stops with you and it starts with building strong employee relationships.
Why Employers Need to Boost Employee Engagement
According to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Manager report, bad managers account for at least 70% of why employees are not engaged. Have you ever heard the saying: employees don’t quit their job, they quit their manager? This one is pretty simple: we work harder for people that we like.
Disengaged workers are less productive, less effective, and hurt your bottom line. So if you have people on your team who are checked out, phoning it in, or simply not performing at their best, you may be wondering what can you do to turn things around.
The good news is, change is possible. After years of employee engagement plummeting, more recent studies have found that employee engagement is actually on the rise. But there’s still plenty of room for improvement, as Gallup reports only 16.5% of employees are “actively engaged,” 34% of employees are engaged, 53% are disengaged, and 13% are “actively disengaged” to put it mildly, or miserable, to be blunt.
In other words, most people either hate their jobs or they’re not exactly thrilled to go to work each day. As an employer, this realization can hurt — ouch! After all, you’re putting your all into running your business and providing a paycheck for others. But before you start grumbling to yourself about ungratefulness and all the sacrifices you’re making, consider what you can do.
Researchers have found the top 3 reasons why people do not like their jobs are communication-related:
- Lack of direction from management
- Poor communication overall
- Constant change that is not well communicated
This is why improving employee communication can go a long way to boost employee engagement and energize your team.
Communication Strategies to Boost Employee Engagement
Strong leadership communication aligns decisions and actions with mission, vision, values, and goals. It clarifies expectations, generates enthusiasm about work, and energizes team members But before you can effectively improve your communication skills as a leader, it helps to recognize what you could be doing wrong.
Get to Know Your Employees
One common pitfall many managers make is assuming they know enough about their employees. For any message to be effective, it’s always important to research your audience first. So when it comes to employee communication this means going beyond saying hello and getting genuinely curious. An employee’s relationship with their manager impacts their commitment and success at work. Spend no less than 30 dedicated minutes weekly with every one of your direct reports, and you’ll gain a better understanding of what makes them tick and how to better engage them.
Check Your Emotions
Another common mistake is not checking your emotions before communicating. To address this, you’ll want to slow down and be more intentional about the things you say. If you find yourself getting too emotional going into any conversation, sit up straight, take a few deep breaths, and imagine the conversation going well in advance. You might even want to create a positive communication mantra: “I’m thankful to be here. I’m here to help. Whatever I don’t know now, I’ll learn.”
Vary Your Communication
Another problem leaders have with employee communication is not varying communication enough; employees don’t want one-dimensional leaders. You can address this by working on the ways you communicate both formally and informally, learning how to address large and small groups privately, and sharing both positive and negative messages. Let down your guard by asking thoughtful questions, visiting with them in their office or in a breakroom, or sitting down for coffee together.
Be a Good Listener
One of the most critical ways employers fall short is not listening. Being a good listener can make a world of difference in earning employee trust. You can address this by focusing on both active and reflective listening and minimizing distractions. And most importantly, work on listening to learn, rather than listening to respond.
Huddle for Success
Finally, many employers fall into the bad habit of letting too much time pass without huddling for success. A team huddle is a management and coaching technique that aims to ensure that your employees start their shift informed and ready to go! It’s an effective way to connect with employees and communicate to keep important ideas and concepts top-of-mind for your team members. You can host a huddle daily or weekly, and it should serve to be both practical and motivational.
Want to learn more about how to host a team huddle? Go here to download HR Answers’ Leadership Quick Take Guide to Facilitating a Team Huddle.
Overall, if you want results from your employees, you have to do your part to engage and empower them. Engaged employees are productive employees that positively impact bottom-line results. Doing your part to boost employee engagement by improving your communication and energizing your team needs to be a priority on your to-do list, today and every day.
Does your organization need support with boosting employee engagement or creating strategies to energize your workforce? Contact us for a free consultation today. We love this stuff!