Organizations continue to look for ways to create greater employee engagement. Of course, one of the ways they do it is by creating programs focused on improving engagement. But creating programs can’t be the only thing that organizations do. Managers need to be actively involved in creating engagement.
Last year, I had the opportunity to spend some time at an SAP SuccessFactors conference in London. During the event, one of the speakers referenced eight ways to create a great day for employees. It made me immediately think of managers and employee engagement, so I wanted to share the list with you.
1. Deliver a learning moment. Learning can take place outside of the classroom and in small intervals. Managers have a real opportunity to coach and mentor employees. Help them learn new skills and knowledge that will improve their performance.
2. Use the employee’s strengths. Every employee has a strength. The question becomes does the employee know what theirs are? And does the manager know? Managers have the ability to give employees assignments that show off their strengths.
3. Tell employees they made an impact. At the core of employee engagement is the notion that employees should understand how their work connects to the organization’s strategic goals and plans. Managers should regularly tell employees how their work is benefitting the company.
4. Recognize an employee’s accomplishments. “No news is good news” should not be an employee recognition program. Managers should let employees know that they’re appreciative of their efforts and results.
5. Offer inspiration. Organizations should take the time to understand what motivates and inspires their employees. Then deliver on it. Being inclusive, transparent, and conducting ourselves in an ethical manner can provide inspiration to the people around us.
6. Help employees make progress toward their goals. Sometimes we have to do more than offer inspiration (See #5) and provide employees with tangible support toward goals. That might be approving attendance at a conference or seminar, giving an employee a book, or just listening.
7. Create collaborative opportunities. So far, we’ve been talking about all of the things that managers should be doing. It’s important to remember that employees can learn, get recognition, and receive inspiration from co-workers. If we let them get involved in group / team activities.
8. Let employees make it theirs. Finally, one of the best things we can do is let employees be themselves. That means setting expectations and getting out of the way. Managers can be there to support and encourage, but let employees own a process and take credit for the results.
As managers, I really thought this is a nice list of things that we can remember to do when interacting with employees. Will we remember to do every single one on each and every day? Probably not. But maybe that’s not the point. My question is, how many managers are doing at least one with an employee every day? Or maybe managers are great at using an employee’s strengths but not so great at creating collaborative opportunities. You see what I mean. The goal is with every interaction to provide employees with an engaging experience.
Image capture by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV21