Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who shows up for work on Monday at 9 am is simply there for the paycheque. There are plenty of individuals who show up to the office with the intentions of making a positive impact both within and outside of their organization.
But there are limits to this dedication. If their managers fail to provide the support systems needed to help employees flourish, then these talented and devoted workers will become disengaged. Even worse, they may head down the path of burnout or quit altogether. Therefore, managers and supervisors need to take note on how to improve employee engagement within their workspaces.
You’ve most likely heard the phrase “you get out what you put in”. When it comes to managing employees, this phrase applies heavily. Intrinsically motivated employees will find ways to consistently perform and exceed certain benchmarks, but they are still human.
Even if only subconsciously, your top talent will recognize when they are putting forth their best efforts without receiving much in return. The resulting feelings can take a toll on their emotional, mental and even physical health. That’s why it’s imperative for managers to take all the necessary steps to prevent such negative consequences from occurring.
One of the most powerful ways to improve employee engagement and employee experience is to invest in career pathing. Anne Fulton, CEO of talent-recruitment platform Fuel50, says that “creating agile career paths to match employees’ different talents, values, and aspirations to business requirements, delivers a powerful payoff – stronger engagement, higher productivity, and optimized talent”. Without a doubt, those are outcomes that every manager would like to see!
However, many organizations are abandoning career development efforts along the roadside so-to-speak. This neglect of career development is detrimental to employee loyalty. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stay longer with their company if their higher-ups took more initiative to invest in their learning. Younger workers – Millennials and Gen Z – represented the majority of that number.
Cheap incentives in the form of employee wellness and rewards programs aren’t the answer to better employee experience. Today’s workers, especially the younger workforce, strives to reach the highest heights of their abilities, pursuing companies that will help them reach their peak.
With that said, organizations who are hoping to attract the next generation of workers need to take the initiative to mentor their employees for continued growth. That leads us to our next point.
Ah, to be mentored again. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of organizations, from burgeoning startups to mature enterprises are investing less in employee mentoring these days. Time and resources are a limiting factor. Of course, there are other problems with mentoring such programs that are ineffective or simply underutilized due to apathetic employees.
With that said, there is a pandemic of employer apathy mentoring towards their employees, which is unfortunate (and unacceptable) considering the numerous benefits that mentoring brings for organizations.
That’s just a sliver of the benefits that mentoring brings for organizations. And mentoring isn’t just advantageous – it’s desired. We have mentioned above how younger employees – Millennials and Gen Z – prefer companies that invest in their learning.
Some companies may be intimidated by the idea of one-to-one coaching since they don’t want the lines between professional and personal opinions to become blurred. But mentoring doesn’t always have to assume the form of intimate consultations. A common format for workplace learning is classroom courses (self-paced e-learning taking second place) meaning that mentoring can be structured as a group activity.
Some managers are fearful that giving employees too many pats on the back will inflate their ego. It’s true that showering an employee with too many praises can fuel narcissism, but failing to give any recognition is a loss for both you and the employee.
Recognizing employees for their efforts serves as a powerful form of feedback and an energizing source of motivation. This is especially true for employees who may not fully be aware of their abilities. When recognition is given to such workers, they may suddenly start to accept initiative challenging new tasks they have overlooked before.
But recognition should go beyond praising your top talent. Virtually everyone, who puts forth the effort to do good work, should receive some recognition from their managers. This covers all sorts of situations. For example, even in cases where an employee falls short of an objective but has demonstrated tenacity despite the challenges, managers should recognize their persistence.
Now a quick note on giving recognition: avoid singling out employees in a group as this can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low morale. A healthy way to give employees recognition is to name the team members involved with a highly successful project and to thank them all. This fosters a collaborative spirit and ensures that everyone feels like a valuable team member.
Honest and constructive communication is the key to successful employee-manager relationships. That calls for regular conversations. However, starting conversations can be awkward for both employees and managers at best, and downright difficult and confusing at worst. Both parties are often unsure of how to approach each other and what subjects or topics need to be addressed.
Fortunately, there are a few approaches and topics that can break the ice. An article entitled “Four Conversations In a Successful Workplace” from The Systems Thinker presented a unique take on starting conversations in offices and job spaces, which you can experiment with.
Of course, tact is needed to initiate these discussions. The way in which managers approach employees will vary based on the relationship they have with each other. Nevertheless, some natural settings for these conversations include performance reviews, workshops or one-to-one engagements that are designed to learn more about specific employees.
Over the years, there has been an increased focus on improving employee engagement levels. It’s an essential movement for 21st-century workplaces especially with issues of job security and mental health taking on increased importance. And we must reiterate that younger generations are choosing workplaces that invest in their career development and wellbeing, making employee engagement crucial.
Unfortunately, only 53% of organizations even bothered to measure employee engagement. That same study uncovered that among the organizations who do measure employee engagement, only the ones that already have a high level of engagement measure their levels regularly. So many are falling behind. How, though, can organizations measure employee engagement levels on a regular basis?
An article published on Forbes provides a 10-step procedure that can help you a foster a more engaged workforce.
These steps are guiding principles but the methods and processes needed to carry them out will vary from company to company. With that said, you can enlist outside help to turn these principles into actionable strategies that will allow you to improve employee engagement levels in your organization.
A common route for companies to take when looking to improve employee engagement is to hire outside consultants or revamp their existing HR process. These solutions in themselves can be effective. However, sometimes all that’s required is a digital tool that can help companies simplify these efforts without having to expend an inordinate amount of time or resources.
For example, our SpriggHR software provides a centralized dashboard that allows you to manage goals, conduct performance reviews and provide continuous feedback to your employees. These features along with many more, give you the means to form deeper relationships with your employees and to provide them with the ongoing mentoring they desire.