Employee Engagement: 9 Rules for HR Managers

December 7, 201610:53 am1086 views

Employee engagement is sort of a buzzword right now among HR managers. But is it worth your time? Everything points to “yes.” There’s a good reason Gallup chooses it as one of the few things the renowned polling company measures on a daily basis, along with presidential approval and economic confidence.

Engaged employees are more productive, have less accidents, take less sick days, and are more likely to put in more than the bare minimum effort their job requires. On the other hand, unengaged employees are estimated to cost the U.S. economy $500 million per year.

What can you do to improve engagement? We’ve got 9 rules to follow that will help.

  1. Encourage Strength-Focused Management

Studies show that when managers and supervisors focus on employee strengths rather than weaknesses, they become more engaged. The difference is actually big – companies where managers focus on weaknesses typically have 31 percent engagement, compared with 67 percent engagement with employees whose managers focus on strengths.

  1. Recognize Achievement

Want employees to go above and beyond? Make sure they get recognized when they do it. Try setting up programs that make it easy to give recognition, especially among peers. There are several apps that make this easy, but you could also just ask employees to vote for who has gone above and beyond the most each month, and then recognize the winner.

  1. Money doesn’t Matter

Of course it does for other things, but if your goal is to improve engagement, it’s been shown that monetary incentives don’t help. In fact, focusing too closely on financial rewards may have negative psychological effects.

  1. Happiness is not Engagement

And the perks that tend to make employees happy, like pool tables, yoga, on-site child care, etc. don’t tend to improve engagement. Not that these perks don’t have any value, but it’s possible to have these great perks and have unengaged employees.

  1. Attach Meaning to Work

One of the best ways of improving engagement is by giving employees a sense, that their work has meaning.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs knew the importance of this, and once captured it very well when he was trying to get employees to shorten the amount of time it took for Macintosh computers to start up. Basically, he pointed out that if millions of people were using the computers, and they could have 10 seconds off the start time, they’d be saving hundreds of millions of seconds, and therefore several whole lifetimes.

You can try helping managers and employees connect their work to the bigger picture. Or, like some companies, find ways of incorporating charity into their work.

  1. Managers and Employees Need to Meet Regularly

This is especially important among millennials, who show 50 percent increase in engagement when they have regular meetings. Of course, you don’t have to encourage long boring meetings for the sake of meetings. But quick, regular check-ins can provide value without being a drag.

  1. Co-Worker Bonding is Important

This makes sense. If you were playing for a sports team with your best friends, would you try harder than if you were playing with a group of people you just met?

One cool way to bond, and help attach meaning to work at the same time, is to encourage employees to volunteer together.

  1. Don’t be Rigid

Another big influencer towards employee engagement is their sense of autonomy – their sense of being able to control their own lives. If your company can have a flexible schedule, allow employees to work from home, or give them more control over how they tackle projects, do it. Don’t erect barriers to flexibility just because of tradition.

  1. Measure Your Efforts

There are several indicators that can tell you where engagement is in your workforce. The number of sick days taken, number of accidents, and productivity levels is all signals for measuring engagement.

You might also watch employee sociability. Do they like working together, or do they avoid and work on projects alone that would be better done as a team? Ok, these are 9 rules that should really help you track and improve engagement at your company. Feeling overwhelmed trying to do all of these?

Start by just encouraging people to try the first rule and manage strengths rather than weaknesses. If nothing else, it’ll make the workplace a more enjoyable place for everyone.

Article contributed by: Adam Seabrook, Co-Founder, Betterteam, Inc


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