We’re currently in a job seeker’s market, and those with the right mix of skills and expertise have found they are able to be more selective about where they work as businesses struggle to recruit top talent to fill open positions. Employee engagement and retention have become more important than ever before for companies striving to maintain a workforce that drives creativity and innovation. In fact, a recent SHRM/Globoforce survey showed that “47% of HR leaders cite employee retention and turnover as their top workforce management challenge.” So, it’s imperative for businesses to create a working environment that keeps employees focused on work that excites them rather than the exit door.
One key way to increase engagement is by helping your employees develop a stronger sense of ownership over the projects they work on each day. For most people, it’s much easier to be passionate about the work we do each day when we feel a personal and vested interest in the process from beginning to end.
Here are four quick tips for creating a stronger sense of project ownership in your employees.
Set expectations from the beginning
Clear, concise communication is the key. Sometimes, your employees may not understand how involved you want them to be in a project. Are they simply completing tasks from a list, or do you expect them to take the ball and run only checking in for an occasional status update? Setting those expectations at the beginning of the project will help remove that ambiguity and foster a stronger sense of ownership going forward.
Give them a voice in the planning process
It’s much easier to feel connected to a project when you had a voice in the planning process from day one. Engaging employees who will be working on the initiative in the initial stages of development not only ensures everyone’s voice is heard, it also provides a different point of view that could lead to new, innovative ideas.
Empower them to make decisions
In a survey from Comparably, respondents overwhelmingly ranked “micromanager” as the worst quality to have in a boss. That’s not saying leaders shouldn’t provide oversight; however, if you’re constantly checking up on every minute detail of a project, it will be difficult for employees to truly engage in the work and develop a sense of ownership for the project as a whole. This requires being able to trust that your people have the foresight and experience to make decisions without having to run each one up a long chain of command.
A SHRM/Globoforce survey found that 84% of leaders say employee recognition programs help build employee engagement. A few words of encouragement can go a long way toward helping employees feel confident about the work they’ve done so far and keep them engaged and connected to the work that still needs to be done.
How do you create a sense of ownership among your employees? Let us know in the comments section below.