For business owners, keeping their employees engaged is more important than ever. And yet, it’s even more difficult with this year’s global pandemic and Brexit looming, particularly as many employees are feeling dispensable and replaceable and worried about their future. Add to that the uncertainty you feel yourself for the future of your business, and it’s a recipe for disengagement and conflict.
So, what does employee engagement mean to you? In order to articulate what it means for me, I thought back to the best boss I ever had; one who had me completely invested in the success of his business; and I then tried to work out why that was the case. In short, he:
- Cared about me as an individual;
- Believed in me;
- Challenged and stretched me;
- Empowered me;
- Didn’t pretend to have all the answers;
- Had my back.
So what’s the difference between employee satisfaction, employee retention and employee engagement, and why is the latter so important, particularly at the moment?
Employee satisfaction – just because you’re satisfied with your job, it doesn’t mean you’re engaged. ‘satisfied’ just feels a bit bland to me.
Employee retention – can actually be counter-productive. People who stay put in their jobs purely out of necessity (particularly at the moment) may actually be completely dissatisfied and disengaged – and in the worst cases, highly disruptive (my current conflict caseload is testament to this).
An engaged employee feels a sense of loyalty to the business in which they work. They’re committed, immersed, engrossed in the success of the company. Crucially, they’re emotionally attached to you and/or the business, and are highly invested in making it a success. They go the extra mile, and it’s this that turns them into a competitive advantage to your business. This is why it’s even more important than ever – engaged employees keep you out-performing your competitors.
So how do you engage your employees?
- Take an interest in them as individuals. Employees often feel like a number, and there’s nothing more disengaging than feeling like their individual needs and circumstances are of no interest to you.
- Empower them. Identify what they’re good at, harness and encourage these skills, and get out of the way. Talented people don’t need to be micromanaged; they need to be trusted to get on with the job.
- Challenge them to do their best, by letting them know that you value what they do.
- Tell them when they’ve done a good job. Thank them. Often.
- Listen to them (remember the 80:20 rule), especially when there’s a problem.
- Have their back. Make sure that you support them, especially in difficult situations.
What I’m seeing in some businesses is that leaders have become too distracted to concentrate on keeping their employees engaged. Admittedly, a global pandemic is a pretty legitimate distraction. As above however, I did my best work when I had a boss who cared about me and wanted me to succeed. Make sure you’re one of those bosses and you’ll not only see your employees fly, but you’ll also stand out from the competition.
I’m here to increase your confidence in your HR decisions – guaranteed. Please contact me for a free, no obligation chat on 07581 152531 or get in touch here.