According to Gallup, the majority of workers in the US are not engaged at their place of work. Just what is employee engagement and why should it matter? A disengaged employee is one who shows up for a paycheck and doesn’t care about the company’s goals, so long as their own job is secure. At the other end of the spectrum, an engaged employee is one who is committed to helping the organization achieve its goals.
But this is not a one-sided equation. Engaged employees do not blossom in a vacuum. Instead, they are often a result of engaged employers.Often, for every company with a high percentage of engagement is a management team that is engaged in return. Being a small business owner or entrepreneur comes with challenges that large corporations often no longer deal with. But regardless of your business’ size, employee engagement is crucial to success.
Here are some ways you can take that first step to help foster employee engagement.
1. Regular, rich communication.
Communication is the foundation and key to any successful relationship in any sector. Looking at Glassdoor reviews gives us a peek into employees’ thoughts on employer engagement. For example, Alder Home Security’s Glassdoor reviews show a company that has engaged employer status. And employee reviews tell us that management communicates regularly with their employees on a wide range of topics.
Holding frequent one-on-one sessions is a highly cited reason for engaged employees as stated by Gallup. Daily communication, whether by phone, Skype, or face to face, by small business owners help employees feel that they know what is going on at work. One of the goals in regular communication with employees is creating an atmosphere where they feel safe enough to try new things. So only employees who feel secure in their position will do so. And a key in helping employees feel secure enough to experiment is communication.
2. Recognition for good work.
It costs no money, yet it is one of the most effective ways to boost employee morale and engagement. The simple art of recognizing and praising good work when you see it. Dan Ariely, professor of Psychology at Duke University, has studied incentives that work in improving output. Praise and pizza works over a raise as an incentive.What does this mean for small business owners? Look for what your employees are doing right and praise that. People who feel their work will be positively recognized will do more good work. Further, recognition can boost self-confidence. Which can lead to employees who feel more confident in what they can contribute.
The reverse is also true. When recognition and praise is not given, employees disengage because they feel their efforts will not be noticed.
3. Provide clear job requirements.
Part of this is good communication, part of this is clear thinking from the top down. As a small business owner, you may be asking your employees to wear many hats. But this can become a source of frustration if they have not had past experience in doing the additional duties you are asking of them. Provide clear points of reference, or even a checklist, that outlines all the duties that you expect them to perform. Employees need to feel that they understand what they must do to fulfill their job description. An engaged employer will help employees by setting priorities if they see employees struggling. And they will be clear about what successful job performance looks like. Clarity of expectations will provide employees with a roadmap to their job and to how to succeed in their workplace.
Enacting these three steps in the management of your employees will help you engage with your employees. And if you do this well, the benefits of being an engaged boss will come back to you in the form of engaged employees.