Whether your team works remotely or they're back to spending the majority of their time in the office, most entrepreneurs are faced with the same problem: creating engagement in the workplace.
Your team is perhaps your most valuable resource, but quite often, they don't live up to their full potential. A disengaged workforce is going to be less productive, and will likely also have a high turnover rate, further driving up costs for your company.
Skilled entrepreneurs understand that their business's results are not just about themselves. Employee engagement is critical to your success -- and therefore, should be one of your top priorities. Here, a few ways to improve engagement in your workplace.
Develop strong, affirmative communication skills
Communication is the foundation of all employee engagement efforts -- not just your ability to talk to your employees, but also your willingness to listen to them and address their needs. Unfortunately, communication is often where the initial cracks in engagement occur.
Research from Harvard Business Review found that 57 percent of employees felt they were not given clear directions at work. This was likely because 69 percent of their managers weren't comfortable communicating with their workers.
Clearly, when such issues exist, it is all too easy for miscommunications to hinder your team's work. Employees who don't feel like they understand their roles and responsibilities are going to struggle.
True leaders actively work to improve their communication skills so that everyone within the organization is on the same page. As part of this, they aren't afraid to solicit employee feedback to get additional ideas for how they can further improve workplace engagement. In all of these interactions, entrepreneurs should strive to create a positive, affirmative environment that helps each employee feel valued.
At first glance, self-care may not seem like something that would improve workplace engagement. But as I learned during a recent conversation with Dr. Karyn Gordon, author of The Three Chairs and 2021 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award nominee, your own self-care practices can have a direct impact on the rest of your team.
Dr. Gordon explained that entrepreneurs can't meet the mental and emotional needs of their team if they themselves are struggling with stress and burnout. In fact, during research for her book, she found that a leader's own feelings of stress and anxiety often have a trickle-down effect that negatively influences the rest of the team.
Stress and burnout make it harder for your team to focus. They may feel overworked under what are relatively normal circumstances. On the other hand, leaders who find an appropriate work-life balance and address stress through healthy ways (such as meditation or exercise) become better able to manage their own load. This makes it easier to get work done, while creating a more positive work environment that employees enjoy rather than dread.
Find your company's purpose
According to The Guardian, 42 percent of today's workforce wants to work for companies that have a positive impact on the world. Notably, however, this number is significantly higher among Millennials, with 62 percent wanting to work for such companies and 53 percent even saying they would work harder in a role where they felt like they were making a difference.
In today's work environment, this makes clearly defining and communicating your company's purpose more vital than ever. If you need help better defining your purpose, take a look at your company's goals. Also, don't be afraid to ask why your business exists in the first place -- aside from making money, of course.
When you can attribute greater meaning to your work, employees gain a sense of purpose and a connection to something bigger than themselves. This can have a far bigger impact on engagement than in-office perks or even a higher salary.
Start creating a more engaging workplace
As the leader, you set the tone for your entire team. Your words and actions go a long way in creating the type of environment where employees feel empowered and engaged -- or not.
As you focus on the needs of your employees and strive to improve your own efforts, your business will become a place where people want to work and give their best possible effort.