Engaging your employees is more important than ever… here’s why
By Angella Hubbert, Director of Data Services
Employee engagement is such a buzzword in current work culture – especially as more people than ever are working remotely. But what does that mean? And right now, are there ways that leaders can improve employee engagement?
Once upon a time, engaging employees simply meant holding company-wide events, meals or parties to give people the chance to get to know each other socially, outside of working hours. But these days, when interaction isn’t always possible, leaders have had to increasingly engage their employees by tapping into their motivations.
What I want to stress is that today’s leaders must understand the importance of motivating their employees, listening to them, encouraging collaboration and assigning team projects to drive engagement.
Great Leadership Listens and Acts
You’ve all heard the saying, people don’t leave their job – they leave their boss. And it’s true! I’ve seen it time and time again. When it comes to engaging employees, great leadership is centered around 2 areas: listening and acting.
While the mark of a good leader is taking the time to ask questions and build genuine relationships with their employees, the mark of a great leader is taking the next step to act on what they’ve heard.
In today’s working environment, with people working from home and coming into the office for special meetings, it can be challenging to be a great leader who both listens and acts… who is intentional in talking, seeing and engaging each employee. The key word here is intentional. These last few years have taught us that engagement can’t simply depend on being in the same space.
3 Principles to Improve Employee Engagement
So whether it’s in person, on the phone or over Zoom, remember these 3 principles to intentionally engage employees:
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain – any fool can find fault, lash out and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
- Give honest, sincere appreciation – this comes from the heart and is unselfish; it takes time that is so important to the other person. It shows that when you hear and see their work, you pay attention to them.
- Inspire an eagerness in your team – encouraging and inspiring your team stirs a desire for them to participate. You do this by listening to their point of view and seeing things from their angle, not just yours.
(I learned a long time ago in a Dale Carnegie course, and these are from his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Sounds simple, right? It is, if it’s sincere and intentional! Caring about others and helping your team feel good about what they do for your company every day is not easy. Open communication, listening to them and encouraging discussion takes practice – but it’s so worthwhile when you end up with happy and healthy employees.
When you take the time to listen, you’ll understand your team’s “heart” for their work and for their company. At BDI, we have SO much heart for each other and for our work. And as a team leader, I take advantage of every chance (every day) to engage with my Data Stars!
And that, in a nutshell, is why employee engagement is so important – especially right now. Do you agree with me? Have some other ideas? Please reach out and let me know your favorite way to engage with your employees.
Check out last week’s Quick Shot – “How to start a career in fundraising: My mountain-top experience”>>