It is unrealistic to consider that human resources departments can foster employee engagement for an entire organization, but they can be strategic partners and coaches in the process of getting it started.
Here are five simple ways you can encourage your managers and team leaders to ignite employee engagement and buy-in to a better work environment.
- Set up short, interactive training sessions for managers and supervisors that teach them coaching skills for building engagement. Challenge each participant to do two actions a week in their departments designed to build engagement. Have half-hour follow-up sessions once every two weeks to chart real progress and share ideas about things that worked well and could be expanded to the entire company.
- Encourage your managers to offer to help their employees. You don’t have to go full-force into servant leadership, but you do need to teach your managers to regularly say to their staff: “What do you need from me? What could make this better for you? How can I best support this team? What else do we need to talk about?”
- Teach your team leaders and managers to ask more questions rather than deliver more statements. Ask them to monitor themselves in a conversation and determine how many of their remarks are direct commands and statement of fact, and how many invite discussion and responses.
- Reward employees who are truly engaged and setting a good example for others. Many companies focus on newcomers, but to be truly effective with this strategy, focus on the veteran employees. Always remember within organizations that there are formal leaders and informal leaders. When you have an engaged informal leader, let them know their efforts are noticed and appreciated. It could be as informal as just saying thank-you and giving them a gift card to take their spouse out for dinner in a local restaurant, or two tickets to a movie or sporting event. Just be sure it is spontaneous and in response to an observed action where the veteran employee performed a generous act of employee engagement.
- Give your employees a chance to care about something. Take on a community project for no other reason that it needs to be done. Perhaps you tackle rebuilding a playground or cleaning up a community garden. Build teams for specific parts of the project, and encourage coming together for the common good. Support the teams with water bottles or mugs or some other promotional item that serves as a reminder of the benefits of engagement.
Employee engagement is a crucial part of a successful company culture. Modern workers want to feel appreciated and noticed. Just make sure you spend some extra time showing that you value your workers and notice their achievements and hard-work.