7 Steps to Engaged Employees
When you're starting a business, every day brings with it some new unexpected twist or turn. However, the moment you add employees into the mix, that challenge increases many times over.
The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to ensure that your people are fully involved in, dedicated to, and enthusiastic about their work. Take these 7 steps and your employees will be as engaged in your business and its success as you are.
1. Create a Partnership
The best way to encourage your people to consistently give their very best on the job is to create a partnership. Treat each employee as a valuable member of your team, and give them the autonomy to make decisions and do their work as they see fit, so long as they meet their performance standards.
2. Involve Your Employees
Involve employees more deeply in your organization by inviting them to join cross-functional teams that draw on the expertise and talent of people from different parts of the organization. Let each team have the authority they need to make decisions on their own -- especially when the decisions directly affect them.
3. Let Your Team in on the Plan
Be as transparent with your people as you can be, in terms of providing information on how the company makes and loses money, letting them in on any strategies you may have and explaining to them their role in the big picture. When your employees understand the overall plan, they will view themselves as an important, vital piece of the puzzle.
4. Provide Feedback on Performance
Regularly set aside time to tell your people what they are doing right and point out any areas for improvement. If performance is not up to par, work with them to develop ideas on how to improve. It’s important that employees feel they are supported by you and the organization, rather than being left behind because of an occasional mistake or bad call.
5. Keep Promises
Never make a promise you can’t keep, and when you do make a promise -- no matter how small it might be -- be sure to follow through with it. Even if you think your employees don’t care about it, you can be sure that they are keeping score. If you aren’t certain that you will be able to follow through on a promise, then don’t make it.
6. Create a Productive Work Environment
A workplace that is trusting, open and fun will be the most productive and successful. Be open to new ideas and suggestions that come from your employees, and show them that their voices are being heard. Regularly set time aside for team-building exercises and meetings, and make them fun so your employees actually look forward to participating rather than looking for reasons to ditch them.
7. Thank Them
A sincere thank-you for a job well done can be a powerful motivator for continued success and is an essential tool for every manager. Thank your employees personally and promptly when you catch them doing something right by writing a quick thank-you email or text message, or by dropping by their office to tell them in person.
Take a walk in your employees’ shoes -- would you be enthusiastic about working for yourself? If not, then give these 7 steps a try.
While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers. Sign up here to always stay up to date with Peter's latest Inc.com columns, and visit him anytime at petereconomy.com.