We’ve all been there. The workload is heavy, the work feels monotonous, and going to work just feels like a slog. When you’re in a funk, you need something to disrupt the daily grind, something that helps you remember why you’re there in the first place.
Disheartened, tired employees need their leaders to step into their doldrums and remind them why they’re there. But, for managers, it can be really challenging to step out of the day-to-day to remember how much their employee’s emotions about their work matters to them… until it becomes a problem.
The reality is, employee engagement makes a dramatic difference in not only your employee’s performance, but your whole business’s. According to a 2018 Gallup study:
“Organizations that are the best in engaging their employees achieve earnings-per-share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors. Compared with business units in the bottom quartile, those in the top quartile of engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. Engaged workers also report better health outcomes.”
Taking small steps towards employee engagement is a worthy pursuit, not only for the good of your employees, but for the good of your business.
One really simple way to plant seeds of change with your employees is to simply focus on encouraging them. Here are a few ideas that take nothing but a little bit of effort:
Intentionally tell people what they’re doing well, when they’re doing it.
The “no news is good news” adage is simply unhelpful when it comes to managing a business. Even when the worst employees start a new job, they feel hopeful that this will be a fresh start in which they will achieve and perform well and become the person they’ve always wanted to be. The vast majority of people are trying their best, so when you see them doing well, take the time to tell them specifically what they’re doing well and celebrate that. A little bit of praise will go a long way to motivating them to do more and be better every day, in hopes of maybe earning a little more praise.
Place encouraging messages in unexpected places.
If your team is hustling underneath a heavy workload, motivation is key! Finding ways to place encouraging and uplifting messages that let them know their hard work is appreciated and that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel of the heavier workload can go a long way to shifting attitudes and increasing overall contentment in the workplace.
Maybe what’s dragging your team down has nothing to do with the workplace, but has to do with their lives outside of the workplace. Maybe they’re struggling with their health, addiction, finances, relationships, etc. The reality is, whether or not it’s ideal, they bring all of that with them when they come to work and their energy will be spent on the thing that is the highest priority to them. Being empathetic when an employee is struggling and finding ways to meet them where they are puts them on the same team with you, not at odds and will foster not only a deeper level of engagement during both tough and great seasons, but a deep sense of loyalty.
Show them the why.
If your employees are behind the scenes, it can be easy to forget the purpose behind the work they’re doing. Telling the stories of end users, the people whose lives are better because of the work they’re doing right now, is critical to employee engagement. Otherwise, you’re just cranking out widgets, not creating the parts that become the vehicle that will transport a family for years of their life.
Track your goals… and celebrate the victories.
Visualizing progress and feeling a sense of accomplishment go a long way to promote buy-in from your team. If you’re performing the same tasks day after day, it can be hard to motivate yourself to do more and be better than you were the day before. But, when you see the team pulling together in the same direction towards a goal, it can change the game and give you something to work towards.
If you’re looking for more ideas and strategies for promoting engagement in your workplace, we’d love to help. Click here to download a workbook full of ideas for creating a culture of engagement in your business, our gift to you!