3 Research-Backed Tips to Avoid Disengaging Your Employees
When there is a disconnect between what employees hear and what they observe, employees are confused about the path ahead. When employees do not understand or trust where things are headed, employee engagement suffers.
Stop, start…right, left…forward, backward. If your employees don’t know what you want of them, if they observe conflicting leadership, if they are unclear how they contribute to the overall effort, you will decrease their discretionary effort, advocacy and intent to stay.
After over two decades in the field of employee engagement training, here are our three main tips on how to keep your employees happy to come to work, eager to give their best and committed to the company vision and culture. Make sure you:
- Set crystal clear expectations and maintain them consistently.
There should be no confusion about what you expect employees to do (goals, roles and success metrics) or how you expect them to do it (the values and behaviors needed to live your desired corporate culture). These performance expectations and desired behaviors should be clear, fair, transparent and observed by employees at every level while being rewarded accordingly. There should be a systematic, agreed-upon way to let everyone know where they stand and to keep everyone on track. Open communication, regular feedback and candid conversations are necessary to express misalignments and correct them.
- Meaningfully connect your employees’ contribution to the company goals.
When you know your employees well—their aspirations, their motivations, their strengths, their weaknesses—you can help them design a role that takes advantage of what they bring to the table. Try to uncover how what they are passionate about doing connects to their work. And then help them see how their contribution brings value and promotes the organization’s success and mission in the world. This is the way to engage your workers’ potential and bring them greater fulfillment.
- Be an involved, caring leader.
When it is clear to your work force that you care about their wellbeing and show your commitment to them with challenging development opportunities, they will mirror your behavior with their commitment to the company. Managers should be effective coaches who know how to encourage the desired behaviors, who establish a team culture where there is trust and mutual respect, who can inspire greater performance and yet hold all accountable for their work ethic, and who are honest and fair in all their dealings.
Employee engagement is the direct result of agreed-upon expectations, clear connections to how each employee contributes to the company, and leaders who are caring, committed, and consistent in doing as they say.