This is part five of a 12-part series.
Successfully leading a team can be one of the most rewarding aspects of a professional’s career. However, addressing a diverse group effectively can be difficult for new leaders. From open communication and recognition to delegation and empowerment to self-awareness and empathy, there are a plethora of leadership arrows professionals must carry in their quivers to be successful. So during this yearlong series, we will examine 12 areas of focus and reveal practical tips to help new leaders in some of the most important aspects of leadership. Fifth up: engagement.
Creating a highly engaged workforce is key to maintaining production and retaining top talent. However, while companies understand its significance, employee engagement remains a major issue across all industries. According to a recent Gallup survey, 51% of employees aren’t engaged at work, while 13% are actively disengaged. This means that just over a third (36%) of the workforce is engaged in their duties. Moreover, the trend seems to show that engagement is decreasing. With this being such a hot button issue, the companies that are able to build a culture of engagement will have the upper hand in the battle for talent. Check out these three tips for building employee engagement.
- Build a Strong Company Culture
One way to help increase engagement among employees is by solidifying a strong corporate culture. According to a study by Hays, 47% of job seekers have a foot out the door due to their current employer’s culture. Professionals want to work for a company that their beliefs and values align with. And while every organization, as well as individual, has a unique shared set of values, establishing a strong culture around them is attractive for long-term employee loyalty. When building or solidifying your company culture, involve your employees and request their input. Let them feel that their voices are heard and that they have part ownership in the culture. By doing this, they will be more likely to work toward bettering the culture as a whole.
- Create Buy-In
Increasing engagement starts with creating a welcoming culture and environment, but to take it to the next level, leaders must create buy-in among their employees. Leaders can do this by clearly communicating the vision, sharing the reason behind certain decisions, and bring the employees along for the journey. If an employee has ownership in the project or task at hand, they are more likely to give their full attention and focus. A simple way to provide ownership is to give employees more autonomy to work within their purview. Look for specific areas in which your employees can take ownership and need less supervision. By displaying a level of trust with your workforce, you help create a sense of pride that can help drive engagement.
- Give Recognition
Finally, focus on giving more recognition. Employees tend to be more engaged on the job when they know their hard work is appreciated. Not surprisingly, an engagement study found that 84% of highly engaged workers received recognition when they put extra time and energy into a project; however, only 25% of actively disengaged employees received recognition for their work. While finding worth through a job well done may be a personal decision, employees who feel their leaders’ appreciation have a tendency to go the extra mile more often. Consider keeping inventory of your employees’ accomplishments throughout the course of a project and recognize their work through a handwritten letter or in front of their peers.
What are some important engagement tips you’ve learned during your career? How has a focus on engagement helped you lead a successful team? Let us know in the comments section below!