by J.T. Taylor, M.A. – President, Team Building USA
Today’s job market is getting very competitive and keeping your best employees and attracting new talent is critical for success. So, what are some cost-effective ways to keep your employees engaged?
Here are five proven engagement strategies for your company:
1. Team Building with a Corporate Responsibility Focus
That’s right Team Building events are a fantastic way to boost morale, increase camaraderie and even give back to you community. Many team building companies offer events such as: Bikes for Kids, Food Bank Charity Challenge or Project Backpack – all of which result in needy children in communities across America – from Santa Ana, CA to Clifton Park, NY, receiving much needed resources as a result of your company investing in its own people.
2. Sincere and Meaningful Praise
In a recent study, employees were asked “What Motivates You the Most in the Workplace?” One would think “show me the money!” would be the top answer, but no, money came in at number three. First was, “making a genuine difference”, and second was “being appreciated for what I do.” Being kind and encouraging is easy to do and it cost virtually nothing and by giving sincere and meaningful praise you are motivating and inspiring your employee.
One manager I know of did something really nice for his assistant. Their business was growing fast and they needed new office space for lease, so after they spent all afternoon looking for offices for rent, they settled on a wonderful commercial space not far from their present location. The next morning the assistant walked into her office and found a bouquet of flowers sitting on her desk with a thoughtful “thank you note”. She walked on cloud nine for the rest of the day. Words and gestures of appreciation have an impact!
3. Solicit Employee’s Ideas
No one wants to be treated as if they are a cog in a machine. All of us want to contribute our talents and abilities to a meaningful cause. What employees do at work is no exception. So, give your people opportunities to improve things around your projects.
Using our previous example from Sincere and Meaningful Praise, before the Manager and his Assistant went looking for office space for rent, they gathered the 25 or employees who would be most effected by the move for a brainstorming session. At the top of the white board the question was posed, “Should We Pursue Offices For Lease, Or Offices To Purchase.” The ensuing discussion delved deep into the cost and benefits of each. Employees were able to see how much more expensive purchasing office space was and what benefits they would be giving up, verses moving to offices for lease. This helped the employees buy-in to the move and engage more fully in the process.
4. Create Advisory Committees
When there is frustration, disagreement or disgruntled employees around an issue, one of the best ways to tackle the problem is to create a committee to come up with solutions to the problem. Select a strong leader, who is a good listener to lead the committee and make sure your most vocal and influential frustrated employee is on the committee. Once the ideas come out of the committee, that negative person will have no occasion to complain about the solution since they were part of creating it. A good leader will ensure everyone’s opinion is listened to and understood. They can incorporate any positive elements they can find into the final solution and liberally share credit for all the contributions. People need to be listened to and taken seriously. This approach will boost morale and enable a much greater degree of buy-in and engagement then simply announcing a decision from the top down.
5. Delegate, Don’t Dump
Too many managers off-load their work onto subordinates just to reduce their workload. This is a giant mistake. Delegation done correctly is a fantastic opportunity to develop leadership in others. Using our office rental example there are a number of ways this could have been done:
- Manager makes the decision all by him or herself on what commercial space for rent to select. This is a top down, authoritarian move which does nothing to develop any new leadership and creates disengaged employees
- Manager involves only the key stake-holders in selecting which commercial property for rent the team would move into. Key stake-holders are important players to involve since they sell the decision to the rest of the team. Putting one or two of them in charge of various parts of the move is a great way to develop new leadership.
- Manager delegates the decision fully to others with carefully thought through parameters and see what solutions the team comes up with. A move that effects everyone, should involve everyone. When a team is considering which office for lease they are going to commit to, that effects everyone. So, take advantage of the impending move and empower rising talent to tackle the challenges involved.
These are five simple ways to engage your employees and they work! You’ve got good people, trust them, develop them, encourage them and reward them. A good leader inspires his or her team to perform their best. They do this by caring about and trusting their people. These are just five ideas on how you engage employees in the workplace and they work!