Employee engagement is critical to any business. A highly engaged workforce can increase productivity, drive customer satisfaction and create a positive culture within an organization.
Managers are in charge of ensuring their employees are aware of what needs to be done, supporting and advocating for them when needed, and explaining how their work contributes to organizational success. However, authentic appreciation can be hard to come by.
- Be specific.
Employee engagement is a hot topic in the business world, and for good reason. Companies that have engaged employees experience lower turnover and higher productivity.
However, many managers struggle to implement engagement strategies effectively. This can be due to a number of factors, including a busy schedule and a lack of coaching support.
Authentic appreciation begins with individual attention. When a manager takes the time to recognize an employee’s accomplishment, she is showing that she cares about the person and their success at work. It is important to be specific in the expression of appreciation, rather than giving a general “thank you.” For example, when an employee is praised for their client-first approach and dedication to meeting deadlines, it helps if the recognition is personal and unique. The same is true when an employee’s hard work and creative thinking are appreciated. It is important to be transparent about the impact of an employee’s efforts on their team, company, and customer relationships.
- Be transparent.
When employees have confidence in leaders and know what’s expected of them, they are much more likely to engage with their work. That requires transparency and the ability to communicate openly.
It also involves sharing honest feedback and acknowledging feelings when appropriate. This is not always easy for managers but it’s critical for building trust and unlocking engagement.
Transparency in the workplace starts with the hiring process. Ensure your candidates understand the full interview process, hiring timeline and responsibilities of the role. It also means being honest when a candidate is not chosen, telling them why and offering resources to help them find another job.
Leaders must encourage transparency in their teams by being straightforward and honest themselves. It also means being transparent about their own performance and providing clear, realistic goals for their team members. This is why having multiple channels of communication is essential, such as team meetings, town halls and online platforms.
- Mark the action.
People who are engaged love their jobs, are proud of the organization and want to contribute to its success. These employees work harder, stay longer and help motivate others to be their best.
Some individuals, however, may not value verbal praise (the words are cheap mentality). In this case, other types of appreciation can be more impactful, such as spending time with them or bringing them their favorite coffee.
Showing real impact is important for companies looking to drive engagement. That means connecting engagement efforts to tangible business outcomes, such as customer satisfaction, revenue and financial performance. It also requires that leaders and the C-suite lead by example, as they are ultimately a reflection of company culture.
- Be authentic.
People feel a sense of authenticity when they know that their true self is embraced and valued by the people around them. This includes the people they work with. Authenticity in the workplace helps create stronger team bonds and higher levels of employee engagement.
Practicing authenticity in the workplace starts with being a more authentic leader. Authentic leaders take the time to listen and consider multiple perspectives, even if they don’t agree with them. They also encourage the sharing of honest and valuable feedback to support team members in achieving their goals and delivering on their promises to customers.
When something goes wrong, they acknowledge it and focus on moving forward rather than digging through past mistakes or playing the blame game. For example, if they make a marketing campaign that doesn’t generate results, they share the results with the team and find ways to improve future campaigns. This shows them are accountable and being an authentic leader.