Employee engagement is running at around 32%. Which means that a staggering 68% of staff, potentially your staff, are either disengaged or even worse actively disengaged. According to Gallup, this costs the US economy anywhere between $450 to $550 billion per year.
As a leader, you have the biggest impact on the engagement of your teams, and your number one goal should be to look to increase this as it will have a significant impact on the bottom line of your company.
Here are eight things we can do daily to help boost engagement.
As a leader, it is impossible to have your staff engaged if you are not engaged yourself. You model the behavior that your teams follow, so if you are not engaged, then they will definitely not be engaged.
Let people see you.
People want to feel that they are working with their boss, not for their boss, but its very difficult for teams to feel that if they never see the boss, either because they are tied up in meetings or just stuck in their office. Get out of your offices, spend time walking about taking an interest in people and whats going on.
Show your enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is infectious and the more enthusiastic you are, the more enthusiastic your teams will be. But this needs to be genuine enthusiasm. Nothing kills engagement quicker than fake enthusiasm, and your teams can see it from miles away. Enthusiasm is not just communicated in your words, it's in your demeanor, your actions, they can even see it on your face.
Take time to talk
The more you communicate with your teams, the more involved they will become. You need to clearly communicate the goals, what they are, why they are important and what's in it for them. You then need to make sure that you keep them informed of their progress on a regular basis, whether it be weekly, monthly or quarterly. Communicating progress can act as great motivation for the team, or can be used as a reminder that you need to make changes to get back on track.
According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, recognition is one of our primary needs. It helps build our self-esteem and feeling of self-worth. Too often praise is reserved for major achievements only, but this fails to appreciate that it's recognition which oils the wheels of continuous improvements. What gets recognized gets repeated, so it's in your best interest to be liberal with praise. But you need to ensure that the praise is genuine, specific and timely. Praise costs very little but regarding return, and the payback can be huge.
It's difficult to be engaged with people that you don't feel connected to. I remember working for one boss who when he passed through a department he would try to look important, very busy and just quickly making his way through the office. He exuded an air of 'don't approach me; I'm too busy'. This created a distance between him and his team.
People will readily follow, and engage, with bosses that they know, like, and trust, and being approachable can help you with all three of those.
Make Yourself Available
Your teams will often have questions, comments or suggestions regarding the work, and dealing with these can have many benefits as it will make them feel more involved, and you might also learn something which will be of great benefit.
A tip I learned from one of my mentors was to have some time set aside each week, where people could just come and approach me. It could be something as simple as eating alone in the staff canteen or talking a walk around the office. People are always watching you, so habits like these get quickly known, and if you're approachable, it gives people the opportunity to have an impromptu discussion with you. I can't tell you how many times people have come to me with great ideas or crucial information, which I might never have gotten to know about otherwise.
Happy people are productive people, and when you are happy and smile a lot, it has a huge impact on the morale of your organization. It's impossible not to feel happier when you smile, and it's contagious when you smile your staff will smile back, and then they too will feel the benefits. Smiling helps reduce stress, makes us feel good about ourselves and increases feelings of positivity.
Leaders have the biggest impact on the morale of their employees, by following these eight simple, low to zero costs tips daily, you can make that a positive impact and boost their engagement.